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UR backpedals on building a facility next to Genesee Valley Park 

click to enlarge A statue of Edward Mott Moore, who championed the development of a parks system in Rochester, stands at the edge of Genesee Valley Park, in front of a wooded area that the University of Rochester owns. - PHOTO BY JEREMY MOULE
  • PHOTO BY JEREMY MOULE
  • A statue of Edward Mott Moore, who championed the development of a parks system in Rochester, stands at the edge of Genesee Valley Park, in front of a wooded area that the University of Rochester owns.
University of Rochester has dropped plans to build a facilities operations center at the edge of Genesee Valley Park.

The park was recently named by The Cultural Landscape Foundation, an advocacy group, as one of several Frederick Law Olmsted-designed spaces around the country that are threatened due to neglect, development encroachment, and other factors.

The university wanted to construct the center on a piece of land that had been in the northeast section of the park until the university acquired it in 1969. A wooded area designed by Olmsted serves as a buffer between the park and the campus.

Sara Miller, a spokesperson for the university, said the decision to pull back was based on input from residents and preservationists over the past few months. She added that the university does not believe that building the center, which critics have called a” warehouse,” on the property would have disturbed the park.

“Moving forward, any future proposed development of this particular parcel will be aligned with the preservation and stewardship of Genesee Valley Park,” Miller said. “We are currently working on an updated development plan regarding the location of our operations center building that does not involve considering any of our property that is adjacent to Genesee Valley Park.”

The Cultural Landscape Foundation report, released last week, noted that the university-owned property remains zoned for “expansion of academic facilities,” and speculated that the university could still pursue a project on that land.

Developing the land could “result in severe detriment to scenic viewsheds from a number of crucial vantage points, including from and across the river, not to mention the forfeiture of significant mature specimen trees,” said the report.

In May, the Preservation League of New York State included Genesee Valley Park in its Seven to Save list and also cited the potential development of the university-owned lot as a pressure facing the park.

Jeremy Moule is CITY's deputy editor. He can be reached at jmoule@rochester-citynews.com.

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