Friday, April 2, 2010

Urban News Vol. 61

A quick interlude between chapters of my RIT series...

I've said both bad and good things about Neal Bauman's grip on the corner property at Main and Clinton in the past. 10NBC reports on a positive development undertaken on both his behalf and that of another property owner previously under siege during the Renaissance Square rollerskate limbo. I've seen permits and renovation occuring for the grocery and Food (hilarious name, by the way) is already open. I have a feeling this block will stir itself back to life whether a large governmental program is involved or not. In fact, this smaller-scale demand-based organic growth will do more to recreate good urbanism than a superblock misinvestment.

It goes without saying that I hope Mr. Bauman is wrong about the ultimate demise of those buildings. After I finish my downtown RIT saga, I hope to show similarities between the block and a tremendous restoration project of similar scale undertaken on the 500 Block of Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton.

Next on the docket is young entrepreneur Jeremy Fisher opening a high-efficiency laundromat on Humboldt Street featuring machines that save water and energy compared to most contemporary equipment. My wife and I think this is excellent and are tempted to take a load there just to try these machines. My only beef with the whole thing is author Erica Bryant calling it a complex and a plaza. It is a city building! Everything cannot be characterized in suburban terms!

2010 Clean Sweep dates have been announced. From the city website:

Saturday Clean Sweeps begin at 8:30 a.m. where volunteers arrive to free coffee and donuts. They're given a free t-shirt, assigned to a team and hit the streeets by 9 a.m. Tools are provided, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own. They return to the staging ground at 1 p.m. for a picnic to build on the community spirit that is the most lasting benefit of Clean Sweep.
I will be promoting these city volunteer opportunities on the Reconnect Rochester and other facebook pages in the near future. I will be present for all but the Northeast event this year.

The dates:
  • Southwest Quadrant- May 1st at Genesee Valley Park, 131 Elmwood Ave.
  • Northeast Quadrant- May 8th at Northeast Neighborhood Service Center, 500 Norton Street
  • Northwest Quadrant- May 15th at Edgerton Park, 41 Backus St.
  • Southeast Quadrant- May 22nd at Cobb's Hill Park, Culver Rd. and Norris Dr.
Finally, and most importantly, Reconnect Rochester has become part of the organizing committee for John Robert Smith's May 10th lecture entitled 'Getting on the Right Track' to be given at the Memorial Art Gallery. We are intent on promoting this as hard as humanly possible to fill the auditorium with receptive individuals as we promote intermodality in local transit. A reception with the speaker sponsored by The Community Foundation will immediately follow the 7PM lecture. Fifteen dollar advance tickets are available at Parkleigh, Wegmans, and through the RRCDC via Paypal.

More on Smith, the President and CEO of Reconnecting America and former mayor of Meridian, Mississippi:
John Robert Smith is the former Mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, and a long-time activist on behalf of passenger rail. He is co-chairman of the National Forum on the Future of Passenger Rail, is a member of Amtrak’s board, and a member of the transportation committees of the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He is a veteran of the station-centered community development movement, and led the drive to renovate the City of Meridian’s Union Station, a $7 million historic restoration project that created a new multimodal transportation center, dramatically increased use of the station, raised property values and city tax receipts, and lowered crime in the station's neighborhood. He served on Reconnecting America’s board for five years, and was a founding partner and board member of Reconnecting America’s predecessor organization, the Great American Station Foundation, voting to expand its mission and change its name in 2004.

No comments: