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See What’s Possible at 72 Conkey

October 24th, 2010

With a little help from Photoshop, I've taken a shot at illustrating how the storefront at 72 Conkey Avenue could look if the City gave local resident Jim Fraser a chance to apply his skills and vision to the property. [Illustration: Mike Governale]As an artist, I think I maybe I see things in the world around me that other people can’t or just don’t want to. I find myself squinting all the time; trying to imagine what could be. I can’t look at a paper cup without imagining what it might become if Jonathan Iveexternal link had his way with it. I know there are a lot of people who probably see 72 Conkey Avenue as nothing more than an eyesoreexternal link; and then there are people like me who see something different. And that boys and girls, is why there’s Photoshop…

With a little help from Photoshop, I've taken a shot at illustrating how the storefront at 72 Conkey Avenue could look if the City gave local resident Jim Fraser a chance to apply his skills and vision to the property. [Illustration: Mike Governale]

Reading Jim Fraser’s proposalexternal link to restore this late 1800’s diamond in the rough, I took HIS words and HIS vision and came up with the drawing above (click for a larger view).

A bike shop, coffee shop, laundromat… even a community room are all possibilities for the ground floor. Three residential units would occupy the upper and rear portions of the building. The windows and original woodwork would be restored. A new security system would be installed and newer windows where appropriate. New roof, new entryway, fresh paint, and period lighting fixtures—check. And last but not least, some flower boxes and plantings to soften the edges around the new brick patio. Below is the same shot of this building today…

This is what the 1879 Victorian storefront looks today. [PHOTO: Jim Fraser]

The City’s Director of Business & Housing Development, Bret Garwood, was at RIT this past Thursday as a guest speaker in Bill Johnson’s Urban Policy & Planning class. One of the students in that class—who read about 72 Conkey on this site—asked Mr. Garwood for his thoughts on the effort to save this building from demolition. Garwood said the biggest issue he is trying to weigh with this property has to do with the fact it is a storefront—and he does not believe a storefront will have a positive presence in the neighborhood.

Now, I’m just an artist; but I think these before and after photos go along way in answering Mr. Garwood’s concerns. Not a good fit for this community? Says who??

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

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This entry was posted on Sunday, October 24th, 2010 at 3:56 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.

5 Responses to “See What’s Possible at 72 Conkey”

  1. Bob Williams says:

    A storefront will not have a positive presence in the neighborhood? This is what we are dealing with…ugh

  2. Monique Bridenbaugh says:

    You have a great vision for this – is the area a good one that will benefit from this improvement. Looks really nice – these are the things that start to bring an area back up. Gotta start somewhere! The city should bring back the subway and train uses too.

  3. admin says:

    @Monique, the area is slowly being built back up. According to Jim’s proposal, 25 new homes in the neighborhood have been built on previously cleared lots … 3 of which are on the same block of Conkey Ave. Every lot now has a building upon it.

    At the same intersection of Conkey and Clifford there is a new playground, a new community garden, and a mini-mart type corner store. If 72 Conkey were to become a coffee shop, barber shop, bike shop, laundromat, etc. it could help solidify this intersection as a gathering spot for the good citizens and families of the neighborhood.

  4. Tim says:

    Nice job in PS with impressive detail. Heck, I’d hire you as a designer! 😉

  5. admin says:

    @Tim, thanks! That’s a pretty hefty compliment coming from you.

    Disclaimer: Tim was my creative director in a past life. I learned it by watching him.


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