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Maggie on Ren Square, “This is no fast ferry”

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Monroe County Executive, Maggie BrooksIn a recent post I implored our readers to send Maggie Brooks an email and request that she listen to Mayor Duffy’s concerns about the Renaissance Square project. It took a while but I actually did receive a response from Ms. Brooks. There no big surprises in it. As expected she defends the project citing the federal dollars, potential new jobs, and the 11 years it’s taken the project to get off the ground (11 years and still counting). But there are a few points that seem rather curious to me—one of which is a “full return on investment [for taxpayers] within seven years. Sure sounds dreamy. Here’s Maggies full response…

(more…)

Sunday, July 5th, 2009
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Posted in Interviews, Opinion, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development | No Comments »

It May Be High Times for High Falls

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

High Falls, Rochester NY.

For a little more than 4 years I’ve worked in the High Falls districtexternal link of Rochester. Last Thursday afternoon I took my lunch (which I usually eat over my computer keyboard) and I walked down Mill Street to Granite Mills Parkexternal link. Of course you’ve never heard of it. It’s nothing more than a 50 foot square patch of concrete, a few trees, and 3 or 4 benches—not quite a full fledged “park” in the traditional sense. But on this sunny afternoon Granite Mills Park had transformed into a real urban plaza abuzz with music, laughter, people clapping, and even dancing.

Hochstein at High Falls Concert Series Poster. A series of midday concerts presented by Hochstein Music School and WXXI called Hochstein at High Fallsexternal link had kicked off with music provided by the Po Boy’s Brass Bandexternal link. I don’t know if it was the glorious weather, the site of the surprisingly huge lunch-time crowd, or the sound of those trombones, but think I caught a glimpse of what the future might be like for that neighborhood by the falls…

(more…)

Saturday, June 20th, 2009
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Posted in Rochester Destinations, Rochester News, Urban Development | No Comments »

Mayor Duffy Awakening

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Anti-RenSquare banners hang over the neglected storefronts at Main Street and Clinton Avenue. Photo taken May 2009.

The City Newspaper this week published an interview with Mayor Duffy, ‘It’s not too late to change’: Duffy on Ren Square external link. In it Duffy explains his recent coming out against the project as it is currently proposed. He cites recent changes in the business and development landscape downtown, new transportation stimulus funding, and sort of a personal awakening for his change of heart. Let’s show the Mayor we support him…

(more…)

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
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Posted in Interviews, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development | 1 Comment »

State and Main… Window on the Past

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

The intersection at State and Main Streets in downtown Rochester, known as the Four Corners, was once the epicenter of the city. I’m going to let these two photos do most of the talking for me in this article. The photo below is of the Four Corners, looking north toward State Street.

The intersection at State and Main Streets in downtown Rochester, known as the Four Corners, was once the epicenter of the city.
The postcard I’m holding in my hand is from the early 1900’s (maybe 1912-ish). Holding it up in front of the same location in 2009, it becomes a tiny window onto the past.

(more…)

Saturday, April 18th, 2009
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Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images, Urban Development | 12 Comments »

Designing Rochester

Monday, April 13th, 2009

The RRCDC office at the Hungerford Complex, East Main Street. This building features a design gallery and resource library free and open to the public. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being introduced to the Rochester Regional Community Design Center external link. The RRCDC is a group of design professionals, planners, and citizens who donate their time to the purpose of designing Rochester’s public spaces. They offer their design guidance and recommendations to the city through public lectures, design charrettes external link, and an open-to-the-public design gallery/resource library at their studio on East Main Street. For anyone remotely interested in how cities are planned or issues surrounding urban renewal as they apply to the city of Rochester, the RRCDC is a must-see.

(more…)

Monday, April 13th, 2009
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Posted in Rochester News, Urban Development | 4 Comments »

NY High Speed Rail… I’m With Slaughter!

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Amtrak's Acela high-speed train which operates between Washington DC and Boston.With the latest wave of federal stimulus external link, suddenly a storm of ideas and proposals are pouring down on downtown. In one corner, Governor David Paterson and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter are reigniting a movement in support of a new high-speed rail line from Niagara Falls to New York City. Slaughter wants to see Renaissance Square funds reallocated toward building a new train/bus station built where the old Amtrak station is now on Central Avenue external link. In the opposite corner, County Exec Maggie Brooks and Senator Charles Schumer are pushing ahead with demolition plans in preparation for Ren Square. Poor Mayor Duffy doesn’t know whether to take sides or run for cover.*

(more…)

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009
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Posted in Opinion, Rochester News, Urban Development | 6 Comments »

3 Different Visions for Midtown Tower

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Midtown Concept #1 by Patrick Dutton and Shane Bartholf.Okay, I haven’t put the time or effort into crafting my own “vision” for the old Midtown Tower, so I’m not going to be overly critical here. But I’m going to show you two concepts for Midtown that were sent to the city this week for review (and 1 wildcard concept). The first drawing (shown on the left) is from local developers Patrick Dutton and Shane Bartholf. It includes 158 for-sale condominiums with large window openings, common or public use of the former restaurant space on the 14th floor, and mixed-use office and retail on the first three floors. As you can see they’ve also added some shiny (albeit blurry) people to their drawing, as well as a lovely solar-flare effect to make the building look extra shiny…

(more…)

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009
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Posted in Opinion, Rochester News, Urban Development | No Comments »

Monroe County Transportation, Highly Satisfying?

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Monroe County Executive, Maggie BrooksI asked Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks if our current transportation infrastructure (highways, bus routes, etc.) are adequate to serve the needs and growth of our community moving into the future. I also asked what she thought Rochester mass-transit should look like by the year 2020 and if there was anything she’d like to see changed or improved. Read her response, then please let me know what YOU think…

(more…)

Saturday, February 28th, 2009
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Posted in Interviews, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure | 6 Comments »

The Renaissance Square Dance

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Renaissance Square as proposed by RochesterSubway.com.
Last week, Senator Chuck Schumer and County Exec. Maggie Brooks announced that the Renaissance Square project External Link will be moving ahead, with or without the performing arts center. $45 million would still need to be raised to build the theater, and at this point it looks like that money would need to be raised entirely with private donations — HIGHLY unlikely. So what exactly are we building? A new bus station (essentially a covered parking lot for buses). New classrooms for Monroe Community College. Oh, and a big grassy area where the performing arts center would have been.

Pricetag? $230 MILLION and 10 years of planning!?

(more…)

Sunday, February 1st, 2009
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Posted in Opinion, Urban Development | 6 Comments »

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