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Coalition says keep Cobbs Hill Village

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A new coalition has formed to push back on a proposed housing project within Cobbs Hill Park. The Coalition for Cobbs Hill Park includes some residents of Cobbs Hill Village, as well as the Upper Monroe Neighborhood Association, Sierra Club, ABC Streets Neighborhood Association, and other groups.

Rochester Management Inc. wants to tear down and replace Cobbs Hill Village, a modest senior housing development in the park. The six one-story buildings are outdated and remodeling them isn't cost-effective, the company says.

Seniors are living longer and their needs are different, says Peggy Hill, the company's president and CEO. The new apartments will be designed to help seniors age in place, and the complex will have a small fitness room, computer lab, and indoor community space, she says.

But coalition member Lee Sengbusch says that the current buildings are in good shape and that the majority of Cobbs Hill Village residents are happy with the complex the way it is.

"Everything is fine," he says. "They have no reason to do anything other than they want to double the population and double the rents."

Sengbusch also plans to start a tenants' association at Cobbs Hill Village so residents can speak with one voice, he says.

Rochester Management unveiled plans earlier this year to replace Cobbs Hill Village with two four-story buildings. The new buildings would each house a mix of affordable and market-rate apartments.

Outcry from neighbors, environmentalists, and some of the complex's residents was immediate. They said the plan would drastically change the park and potentially displace the residents of Cobbs Hill Village — a charge that Hill denies.

Rochester Management is revising the design at the request of Mayor Lovely Warren, who said the original plan was not appropriate for the site. No date is set yet to reveal the new plans.

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