Updated 01/16/2013 11:10 PM
City Looks for Input on Center City Master Plan
The City of Rochester held a public meeting Wednesday looking for input concerning Downtown planning and development. After hearing from residents and business owners, the city will draw up an updated Center City Master Plan.
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Residents of all ages came to Rochester City Hall to share their downtown experience, offering ideas for improvement.
"The real reason we are updating this plan is that over the past ten years, a lot has happened downtown,” said Jason Haremza, Senior Planner.
The original master plan, adopted in 2003, had many successful projects.
"The Eastman Theatre Expansion, Sagamore on East, mixed use development,” said Haremza.
However, some long-standing issues still remain.
"We heard loud and clear that parking is an issue downtown."
And many residents still find Center City lacking.
"I know a lot of people who come downtown and don't even know we have a waterfall,” said one man.
Topping the list of the city's objectives is redeveloping Main Street. The city developed a 3-D model to help visualize these potential changes.
When we're looking at the Inner Loop, we can imagine what it's going to look like, what that can do is take that and transform it into a boulevard lined with new construction,” said Marcia Barry.
Other developments underway include changing Clinton and St. Paul streets into two way streets and completing the Genesee River trails behind Dinosaur barbeque.
During Wednesday night's meeting, a common theme surrounding downtown was that there's nothing to do and security is a concern. That’s something the city says is a misconception and is developing marketing techniques to show what the city has to offer.
"I think people need to come into the city if their out in the suburbs and spend time downtown. There are more police cars downtown then anywhere, I think it's the safest place you can be,” said Joy Pacheco.
With the memories of what Main Street looked like years ago, long-time residents hope to see it revitalized.
"I would love to see more specialty shops, more boutiques downtown, I think it would not only help the residents but the visitors that come in,” Pacheco said.
"I think it would be nice if they could find some unused vacant property for a dog park because I think it's something there's a need for,” said Megan Haley.
The city hopes to have a final draft on the updated plan by late spring. More than 2,000 people have already submitted input on the online survey.