We Rochesterians are proud of our city. Just look at our united response last month to the New Yorker article that mistakenly called Buffalo the birthplace of the garbage plate. Within a day of the publication, the author personally apologized for showing “disrespect” to our city and its passionate residents.
As a newly elected member of City Council, I am lucky enough to see this pride and passion on display every day. Citizens constantly reach out to my office to share their vision for the city. They invite me to participate in a plethora of dynamic community events happening all over town every day, and they provide critical feedback on various projects. The monthly “Speak to Council” sessions regularly run out of time because so many people sign up to participate.
I hope we can deepen the engagement between citizens and government, and channel the pride and passion that we all feel for Rochester, to help shape the future of our city. We have a unique opportunity to work together on the City’s new comprehensive plan. The citizens of Rochester have not worked on a comprehensive plan since 1999, when City Council adopted “Renaissance 2010.” That plan brought us into the 21st century, but we are a much different city now with a different set of priorities. The new plan, “Rochester 2034,” will become the blueprint that takes us to the city’s 200th birthday; it will serve as the critical tool for decision-making on land use, infrastructure, housing, and much more.
In order for Rochester 2034 to be effective, it must be a direct reflection of community goals and aspirations. There will be several ways to participate in the planning process, but the first step is to complete the online survey available here. The website includes contact information for the city’s Office of Planning; contact them with any questions or concerns. If you have any issues with the survey, go to your nearest library and ask for support.
This is an exciting time to live in Rochester, and we have much to be proud of today. But I hope we continue to blossom as a city, and have even more to be proud of in 2034. Help us achieve that vision by participating in Rochester 2034. Be bold. Be innovative. Together, we can create the future that we want to see.
Mitch Gruber PhD is a City Council member and the Chief Program Officer at Foodlink.