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Skatepark could be homeless again 

The City of Rochester is soliciting ideas to convert Genesee Crossroads-Charles Carroll Plaza on Andrews Street along the river from a little-used, little-noticed park into a reinvigorated year-round destination. Early ideas include swinging seats, a perennial garden, outdoor exercise equipment, lighting features, and performance space.

The plans mostly likely do not, however, include a skatepark. The plaza was the second site eyed for a city skatepark; the first was under the Douglass-Anthony Bridge. And the park's chief advocate is frustrated nearly to the point of exasperation.

James Maddison, president of Friends of the Roc City Skatepark, tells of what he says is a nine-year tangle with City Hall filled with confusion, equivocation, passing the buck, and failure to give the group a straight answer.

"I'm just trying to make the community a better place," he says. "Why do I got to get treated like this?"

But the city says that the group was never promised a skatepark and that the key component is whether the surrounding businesses and organizations would be OK with it. Maddison says that his group was told by an official that key people in City Hall and businesses in the area do not support a skatepark at the Crossroads site.

Officials say that the skatepark group and the city are meeting to consider a handful of new locations. But Maddison says that his group wants to stick with Crossroads and will make its case to Mayor Lovely Warren in a private meeting this week.

Charles Carroll Plaza is located on top of the Genesee Crossroads parking garage on the west bank of the river. The garage roof leaks extensively, city officials say, which is the impetus for the reconstruction project.

The 3.4-acre park has its own issues. The pavers are rocking and tipping, the park is hard to see and to get to, and it's difficult if not impossible for members of the disabled community to use the park.

The city is gathering public input on future uses of the park with a survey you can take via text message. More info: http://www.cityofrochester.gov/article.aspx?id=8589967586. More public meetings are planned, too.

Another part of the project that could potentially cause controversy is the removal of the public-art installation by Richard Fleischner. The six-part enameled steel structure was erected in 1986 as part of the Rochester Sesquicentennial. It will be removed while work is going on, officials say, and may or may not be back, depending on public feedback.

Project design will take place this year and into 2017, officials say, while construction is scheduled to occur in 2017-2018.

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