When it comes to the fate of Parcel 5, Mayor Warren understands what needs to be done. She knows that downtown Rochester must become a vibrant hub for people to walk, recreate, shop, and do business. She is the right person at the helm, and our community should get behind her leadership.
That being said, we do not need to choose just one design option at the expense of others. Let’s create a performing arts center big enough to meet the needs of RBTL, an underground parking garage, mixed use office and retail on the first floor, a community space with trees, walkways, a fountain, and outdoor stage in front of the building, and a wide open park space on top of the building. There could be elevators and staircases leading up to the community area, which would be open during standard hours and patrolled by peace officers, volunteers, and the RPD. The park space on top could include a track, recreational field, trees, flowers, and benches; it could also serve as an outdoor arts venue with one of the most unique ambiances in Western New York.
As I see it, this multi-dimensional space can achieve several important goals: it can create a signature attraction in the form of a state of the art performing arts center; it can beautify the front of the space and invite people to congregate on Main St; it can lighten the city’s parking burden; and, most importantly, it can keep the dream alive for a community park space on top of the building.
With enough creativity, we can implement a design that meets everyone’s needs.
George Cassidy Payne is an adjunct instructor in the humanities at FLCC.