Mike G 
Member since Feb 14, 2017

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Re: “Riverway plans head toward the start line

Well, yes, Stevie S. Guilty as charged to a degree. I certainly prefer blue sky to doom and gloom, but we all agree there needs to be a certain level-headedness to our visions for progress. There's a degree of economic naivete' in many ideas that originate from government/politicians, but there's clearly been an honest, thorough, and collaborative effort put forth here with this plan and these integrated projects. Yeah, some are a bit pie in the sky, and maybe they won't return 5:1 on the investment. But I'd much prefer we keep trying, keep growing, keep innovating, then allowing our beautiful region to decay and fall behind competitively. And to the point about the Fast Ferry: sure it ultimately failed, and there was some financial wonkiness there that should have been much more transparent and vetted. But it actually could have worked long-term if not for two factors: 1) As soon as it launched, gas prices soared to almost $5, ruining the economics, and 2) They went too big with the ship hoping to transport 18-wheelers across international waters in a 9/11 world. A more modest ship focused on cars and people might be running to this day. All that said, even if we accept complete failure of Fast Ferry, Renaissance Square, et al, we must also remember that every single amenity we have as a city--every single park, auditorium, beach, hotel, public pool, hospital, museum, bike path--EVERYTHING we have that we didn't have in 1834 was the direct result of someone deciding to build, someone deciding to take a chance, someone with a dream to make things better for the community. It all took money and risk and sweat and belief. Let's believe in our city. Let's invest in creating the ENVIRONMENT for jobs and healthy lifestyles and economic success--instead of imploring someone else to just "make" jobs or take care of the poor.

9 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Mike G on 08/02/2018 at 4:22 PM

Re: “Riverway plans head toward the start line

So Mr. Janowski, are you suggesting the city should never invest in its future until these social issues are solved? We can debate the merits of each individual idea in this plan, and each respective investment in dollars that they will take, but can we please have that debate in the context of the return on investment we may experience? And by "return" I mean the tangible contribution to the quality of life in our city, and the potential for each investment to contribute to the future economic health of the community.

Why must every single proposal for investment and growth in our city be immediately countered with the argument that there are poor people. Is there such little understanding of economics that people actually believe the answer to our ills is to just hand out money and "create" jobs out of thin air? Who will create these jobs if there is no REASON to live or locate a business in Rochester? Now more than every before, every business owner, every job-creator makes a CONSCIOUS decision about where to locate and invest. If we rot into oblivion, that will be a never-ending vicious cycle.

Please Rochester... expand your vision. Dream a little. Take a chance on the belief that a city must GROW. It must grow to survive. An *honest* dollar spent investing in the beauty and live-ability of our city is returned manifold. Let's focus our efforts on making sure these investments are honestly and transparently made. And then celebrate and enjoy!

19 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Mike G on 08/01/2018 at 3:03 PM

Re: “Mt. Hope braces for big build

The comments by Erin Caldwell and Adrian Martin are spot on. You can't complain about a lack of (affordable) housing in the city, and then in the same breathe fight against future projects over 3 stories... along a primary CITY artery. The more housing density there is, the lower rent becomes on the older, less "desirable" units. This CREATES affordable housing. How can people not see/understand this basic supply and demand principle? Look at any successful European (or Canadian) city and you'll see block after block of 5-story residential buildings, which create enough density to support the retail and other service needs of those very residents--of all income levels. We need to stop looking at everything from the lens of class warfare. How about we look through the lens of how to ensure our city survives (and heaven forbid THRIVES) into the next century.

7 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Mike G on 06/14/2018 at 2:14 PM

Re: “Downtown residents form a new urban coalition

This is actually a great idea... an informal coalition of all the various downtown neighborhood associations. It makes perfect sense for them to network, and to speak or advocate with a unified voice on certain matters that impact them all. I'm bothered by the negative responses to this article, which seem to presume what policies or limitations downtown residents will "impose" on the city or others. I'm not sure how anyone can criticize a group of citizens, regardless of class or income status, for organizing in support of their collective interests. Good luck to C4, and each of the respective downtown neighborhood groups.

2 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Mike G on 04/04/2018 at 12:55 PM

Re: “Parcel 5 plan proceeds; so will the criticism

I walk by Parcel 5 every day, and after over a year of imagining the possibilities, my thinking on the best use of this space has changed significantly.

I believe strongly that a city prospers from its core outward. As such I am pro-development and (even more specifically) PRO-DENSITY. For that reason, I had supported development of Parcel 5 as a way to 1) continue the street wall on Main Street, and 2) add residential population to the heart of downtown. The theater and residential tower project just seemed a convenient means to that end.

However, my opinion has flipped completely as it relates to this critically important piece of land. I believe it should be a PARK, and here is a vision of how we could pull this off with virtually all interests coming out as winners...

1) Parcel 5 should be developed as THE city park in the heart of our downtown "tower district".

2) This park could be called "Douglass Park" and could feature the Frederick Douglass monument that once graced downtown, but now unceremoniously resides in Highland Park.

3) Devoting this space to a park could eliminate the significant cost of building underground parking for any proposed development.

4) The park could be designed to serve a dual purpose: Both as a beautiful, tree-lined urban park, as well as a "festival" venue for major performances and events that could support 5,000+ people.

5) My biggest concern with using the space as a park has always been the break in the street wall on Main St. Secondarily it was the potential loss of residential units that would add to the population density in the center city. This density is critical to the introduction and success of quality retail downtown. These concerns could be alleviated by rimming the park with a uniquely urban one-story micro-retail edifice that would essentially serve as the "fencing" to the park. There could be arched entrances in the middle of all four sides of the park as breaks in this retail wall. These miniaturized retail storefronts would encourage specialty/novelty use at low overhead costs for merchants. This could add year-'round vibrancy to the park and actually make the site lines inside and outside the park more attractive. The roof of this one-story "retail fence" could even be purposed as additional greenspace (including trees??) and seating capacity for event use.

6) On the residential side of things, the city could work with the same developers to utilize the tiny adjacent Parcel 4 as a 25-35 story ultra-thin high-rise. This would further envelop Douglass Park in skyscrapers, which is one of the things that makes the space so interesting in the first place. The addition of another residential tower so close to the newly redeveloped 88 Elm, and soon-to-be-redeveloped Cadillac Hotel, would significantly add to the density of the area. Imagine the increased attractiveness of these units if residents could simply step outside to Douglass Park.

7) Now the trickiest part... the Performing Arts Center and it's $25 million commitment from Tom Golisano. I think there is a very logical solution: build this on Parcel 10 (the river side parking lot next to the Blue Cross Arena), which has already been studied and recommended for this project. If we are to become a more cosmopolitan city, we need to expand our definition of downtown and what is considered "walkable". Parcel 10 is would present RBTL with everything they want to foster a vibrant scene. Imagine a riverside PAC; sort of our own little version of Sydney's Opera House.

8) And last, but not least... Why not think even bigger and broader? If we could build the PAC on Parcel 10 next to Blue Cross Arena, why not package a new arena into the mix and build both facilities at the same time? There could probably be some savings realized by building these once-in-a-generation community assets side-by-side. We need a new arena, and the case could be made that more Rochesterians would benefit from an arena than a theater (culture be damned). What a complex that could be!

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Mike G on 03/20/2018 at 2:20 PM

Re: “Rochester supercharges its riverfront plans

Frankly, it's refreshing to see the city put a big, bold plan out there. Our community is worthy of such ambition, and it's better to shoot high and see where we land. Let's do something transformational that benefits everyone in our community for decades to come.

That said, it continues to frustrate me when disclaimers like the following are routinely applied to editorials on these topics: "That investment can't be simply for the well-to-do. It can't exacerbate the affordable-housing shortage, which is already a serious problem in Rochester."

It's almost like every opinion piece on community development projects (pro or con) is required to add a qualifier like thiswhether or not it makes any sense.

The addition of housing units in any area will NOT reduce or "exacerbate" the availability of affordable housing. Even if not a single affordable unit is added, it can not make the issue worse. In fact, the addition of new housing stock most often serves to actually lower the costs of the existing available units over time. As supply goes up, prices go downespecially in a region with static population growth like ours.

Am I the only one who shudders every time locals bemoan the addition of "too expensive" rental units downtown? THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TOO EXPENSIVE. The market regulates this for us. If the Metropolitan or Tower 280 asks too much for their units, they will not get rented. If people are willing to pay what's asked, then they are not too expensive.

Can we someday eradicate the belief that society is a zero sum game; that for someone to succeed, someone else has to fail? That's not how economics works. If we want to expand our vision beyond a "haves versus have-nots" mindset, we can start by embracing growth. A high-rent high-rise does not reduce affordable housing. In fact, it might actually increase it! Likewise, we shouldn't "dumb down" our civic investments over concerns that only the "rich" benefit. Whether it's a stadium, a performing arts center, or a riverside promenade, the addition of equally-accessible community assets lifts all ships.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Mike G on 03/07/2018 at 4:03 PM

Re: “The risks we face in the next race for mayor

One of the most inane and needlessly inflammatory pieces of drivel I've read in a long while. Over the course of two pages, this is what we learned. 1) Having competition in the race for the mayoral nomination is potentially damaging to the party. 2) Because the candidates are different races (gender is not mentioned), this competition is sure to cause more racial division. 3) If local Democrats could all just get united, "they could accomplish great things". Thus I suggest in true progressive fashion, your next editorial should propose the three competitors join forces to create a superhero tri-candidacy. That way everyone can be happy, no one will be disappointed, and tremendous progress will be made in the community.

BTW, the terms "race", "racial", "racist" are used a dozen times in the editorial, as a warning to all that things could get ugly folks. This in a contest where the incumbent is black, the primary challenger is black, and the new kid on the block is a liberal white woman. Is there no situation anymore that might escape the clutches of City's unnatural and unhealthy obsession with race politics?

13 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Mike G on 02/14/2017 at 1:39 PM

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