By now you’ve probably heard of the GardenAerial project. But you may not be clear on the details. What is it? And why is it important? Benjamin Woelk is Associate Director of Administration & Community Engagement at GardenAerial. He recently gave a presentation at TEDxFlourCity where he explained how the GardenAerial project will reinvent our community by giving Rochester a “sustainable identity.”
Benjamin reminds us that we have a 96 foot tall waterfall… inside a canyon… in the middle of our city. High Falls has been here for millions of years. Yes it’s evolving; but it’s also been here longer than Kodak, Lilacs or Garbage Plates. Rochester began here. And as he correctly points out, this is a world-class site. Repeat it: A World. Class. Site.
Now watch the video and see how High Falls could be transformed into New York State’s first EcoDistrict, and a boon to our economy once again…
The GardenAerial project could one day transform High Falls – Rochester’s oldest neighborhood. A landscaped pedestrian trail is planned to be built all the way around the rim of the gorge. Pre-existing structures & trails would be converted into multi-use public green spaces. And if all goes according to the vision, the entire area (in and around the gorge) could become New York’s first EcoDistrict . But this is not an initiative led by City Hall. The idea was brought to the table by two Rochester residents, and is now being advanced by their non-profit, Friends of the GardenAerial.
The first phase of the GardenAerial project will be funded in part by this this online campaign . But there’s only one week left and $6,600 still to raise. In a recent comment to RochesterSubway.com, city resident Jim Fraser explains why crowdsourced projects like this are critical to the future of our city…
Sally Wood Winslow has operated the High Falls Visitor Center , gift shop, and art gallery for 20 years. During that time she has personally greeted every single visitor with a boisterous “HELLO THERE! Welcome to the Visitor Center at High Falls!!” And, she has become a very good friend of mine, so this one hurts me personally. Today Sally announced the visitor center and gallery will be closing on June 30…
GardenAerial is a non-profit organization working to transform the High Falls gorge, including its industrial structures and trails, into a multi-use, public green space. Full disclosure…I serve on the board of the GardenAerial. I jumped at the opportunity to support this organization because I believe the High Falls and surrounding area could be great assets for this city, but they are woefully underutilized. We’re working to change that. And here’s a tremendous opportunity for you to help right now…
In February we heard rumors that the iconic High Falls smoke stack might be coming down. Yesterday I noticed scaffolding going up around the structure. Today I learned the stack will be completely demolished, probably before winter…
I’ve been keeping a close eye on these people who call themselves “green.” My wife is one of them. She forces me to do things like wash poop-filled diapers and collect rainwater off the roof of my garage. Recently I even started carrying my nacho chips to work with me in a cloth/velcro baggie instead plastic. She sold me one of these sustainable lunch baggies for five bucks. What’s this world coming to?
Actually, I kind of like this green tidal wave of change. It’s certainly made me think about leaving the world a little better for my kids. But I also like it because it’s created a whole new economy in which our region is positioning itself to capitalize in a big way. That’s not just hype. Like Rochester’s great Industrial Expositions of the early 1900’s, the Greentopia Festival will give Rochesterians a unique look at our future; and some good reasons to celebrate.
Rendering of renovated buildings and GardenAerial trail
I realize that sometimes it’s a bit difficult to see the potential in something. Especially when that “potential” is hidden beneath layers of mustard yellow paint, rusty corrugated siding, and 25+ years of plain old tired…
The way things look now (click for larger views)
Why, just the other day Howard S. Decker, FAIA said, “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beer Holder.” Mr. Decker is former Principal of DLK Architecture (Chicago) and former Chief Curator of the National Building Museum (Washington DC). He knows a thing or two about buildings, and places that are worth saving for future generations. His highly experienced eyes see the potential in 13 Cataract Street and the neighborhood it lives in.
But what about the rest of us? How can we be sure this building is worth the money and effort it will take to bring it back to life? What is the alternative to demolition? And will we lose our Brewery Visitor Center if we don’t tear this other building down??
Let’s start with an excerpt taken from a document filed by the Landmark Society in 1984 with the New York State Parks and Recreation Division for Historic Preservation…
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.