The Landmark Society is partnering with the Park-Meigs Neighborhood Association to hold a public forum on the evening of Tuesday, May 21 at 597 East Avenue . Up for discussion: the timely and controversial topic of new development in preservation districts. This is a community conversation you will NOT want to miss.
A panel of speakers, representing developers, homeowners, business owners, urban planners, and The Landmark Society, will offer their perspective, followed by an open question and answer session. Speakers include Wayne Goodman, Executive Director of The Landmark Society; Glenn Kellogg, Urban Advisors; Joe Hanna, Hanna Properties; Steve Vogt, Rochester Young Professionals. RocSubway contributor, Matthew Denker will also weigh in. Can new development benefit preservation districts? How can the new co-exist with the old? What is “good” development? These are some of the questions this forum will attempt to address.
Scientists have known of the existence of DNA for over fifty years. But until recently , no one had ever seen a photograph of that tricky little double-helix. For the preservation community in Rochester, the image above could be just as big of a breakthrough as photographing DNA for the first time. We had a fuzzy idea of their existence, but until today no one had ever seen a map of the city’s Designated Buildings of Historic Value (DBHV). And I mean NO ONE. Not even the people who put the list together…
Last week Rochester’s Zoning Board heard public testimony, both in favor of, and in opposition to a developer’s plan to demolish a historic church at 660 W. Main St. in Rochester and replace it with a Dollar General store. Of all the comments made during that 2-3 hour hearing, the one drawing the most buzz was made by a member of the Zoning Board itself, Patrick Tobin . As an article in the D&C recounted, this board member expressed frustration that, “while preservationists and others urge them to protect these buildings, little is done to keep the structures from falling into severe disrepair.”
Mr. Tobin’s comment is similar to one I hear in the comments section of this blog quite frequently where preservation vs. demolition cases are discussed. Let me paraphrase… “If you loved the building so much then why didn’t you ‘preservationists’ do something about it until now? Why’d you wait until the property owner wants to tear it down?” There are so many things wrong with this line of thought there isn’t a comment box big enough for me to fit an answer in to.
Coincidentally (or should I say, as luck would have it), Wayne Goodman, Executive Director of the Landmark Society, stepped up to the podium immediately after Mr. Tobin’s comment was fired at the preservation community. And, as I expected, Goodman took great exception to the remarks.
So I reached out to Goodman and asked him to help us understand why preservationists don’t do a better job of keeping these “historic” buildings from falling into disrepair. Goodman sent me the following statement…
The very same people responsible for Rochester’s Greentopia Festival are expanding the Greentopia brand this year to include a series of film screenings. My heart skipped a beat when I learned they’ll be bringing Gary Hustwit’s Urbanized to the Little Theatre for a one-night-only event featuring a panel discussion afterwards. I’ve been waiting for this movie to hit Rochester for months. Now I won’t have to travel to someone else’s city to see it!
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.
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