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Help Save 72 Conkey — Part II

October 19th, 2010

The Rochester Fire Dept. put these gaping holes in the roof of 72 Conkey 5 days after RochesterSubway.com readers emailed the City asking to please save this historic building. [PHOTO: Jim Fraser]
If you responded to my plea last week and sent an email to Bret Garwood asking him to stop the demolition of 72 Conkey Avenue, I offer you my sincerest appreciation. As “coincidence” would have it, less than a week after that post on RochesterSubway.com the City Fire Department used the 1879 Victorian building to hold a training session. The photo above was taken on October 18. Now there are great big gaping holes where there was once a roof.

Is this really happening? I know Mr. Garwood received dozens of emails from RocSubway readers, members of Reconnect Rochester, and myself. I can’t help but ask myself is this act in response to those letters? Is the City reading our letters and giggling to themselves? Come to think of it, I didn’t receive a response to the email I sent last week… did you?

This was no coincidence. This property has been on the City’s demo list for several years. NOW there is a proposalexternal link from a local resident to buy and restore the building. NOW Rochesterians are pleading with the City to stop the destruction of this historically significant structure. AND ALL OF A SUDDEN the Fire Department decides to use the building as their fire academy training facility?? I THINK I’M ON THE VERGE OF A BREAKDOWN. Yes, I may just go madexternal link.

Tonight I am kicking this campaign into high gear.

We need more emails sent to the City. We need to pick up the phone and CALL the Mayor’s office [585-428-7045] and Mr. Garwood’s office [585-428-6150]. We need to tell our buddies about this insanity and ask them to write and call as well. And if you know someone who you think may be able to help—a political insider, a reporter, a developer—please ask them to step in and help.

Dig deep Rochester. If we can’t save this little storefront in this neighborhood that desperately needs it, we might as fold it up. Just look at what’s next on the City’s hit listexternal link

These three buildings at 1170 Genesee Street in the 19th Ward will be torn down so that condos can built in their place. Built in 1916, the site was once an orphanage and most recently it was Valley Court Apartments. [PHOTO: Matt DeTurck, CITY Newspaper]
The buildings are architecturally significant and would probably qualify for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. But the city says it would cost too much to save them.  [PHOTO: Matt DeTurck, CITY Newspaper]These three buildings at 1170 Genesee Street in the 19th Ward will be torn down so that condos can built in their place. Built in 1916, the site was once an orphanage and most recently it was Valley Court Apartments.

According to the CITY Newspaperexternal link, a representative from the State Historic Preservation Office says the buildings are architecturally significant and probably eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Rochester, what are we doing?

The City calls this demolition Project Greenexternal link—I call it blind insanity. Please call the Mayor’s Office [585-428-7045] and tell them you disapprove of the way they are indiscriminately “greening” our city.

Please call and write Mr. Garwood [585-428-6150] at bret.garwood@cityofrochester.gov and urge him to reconsider the demolition of 72 Conkey Avenue. Or you can use the pre-written message below.

Click here to send this email to Mr. Garwood

Mr. Bret Garwood
Director of Business and Housing Development
City of Rochester

Dear Mr. Garwood,

I am writing to ask you to reconsider the pending demolition of 72 Conkey Avenue in Rochester. While I understand it is late in the process, saving this structure still makes sense, for several reasons.

It is good urbanism:

It would combat crime by putting ‘eyes on the street’ at this central location in the neighborhood. It helps maintain density and diversity. Its architecture and history would preserve character and a sense of place. And the retail space offers an opportunity for economic development and walkability in the future.

It is good economics:

There is no alternative to rehabbing the property that would improve the tax assessment as much for as little expense in as little time.

It is what the neighborhood wants:

A responsible rehabber who lives and invests in the neighborhood has expressed an interest in the property to the Real Estate office and Norton Street NSC, and has prepared a proposal for your consideration. You can read the proposal at: http://tocquevillagechronicles.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/save-the-charles-h-schulz-store-built-1879/

Ibero has recently made a significant investment in infill housing in the surrounding blocks.

Project Hope, Group 14621 and Genesee Land Trust have all expressed support for redeveloping the structure.

The City of Rochester itself has supported several recent projects near this property.

Sincerely,
[ YOU 😉 ]

UPDATE (10/21): Part III, WHAM 13 News picks up this story

UPDATE (10/24): Part IV, See What’s Possible at 72 Conkey

UPDATE (11/04): Part V, 72 Conkey: The Tide May Be Turning

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 at 11:20 pm and is filed under Rochester News, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Help Save 72 Conkey — Part II”

  1. Thank you for doing this! I just sent an e-mail and will also call. I really hope Rochester can save these great buildings.

  2. admin says:

    @Peter, thank you for sending an email. I will be calling in the morning as well. Please report back to us what they tell you.

  3. admin says:

    Fire up your TV sets… Rachel Barnhart will have this story on WHAM 13 News tonight at 5:30

  4. admin says:

    A big THANK YOU to Rachel Barnhart and WHAM 13 News. This story is on the front page of 13wham.com right now…
    http://tinyurl.com/2fpo8wf

    “We haven’t made an absolute, final decision, but we have to be mindful of whether projects can revitalize a neighborhood,” said Bret Garwood, the city’s director of Business and Housing Development.


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