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Reader Feedback 9.25.02

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Waiting

Reflections on living through a year of September 11:

For the first time in my life, I now understand how the intelligent, educated, cultured, sophisticated people of Germany fell for Hitler, and how they fell first for the rhetoric/metaphor of war and then blithely for a real war.

As they say, let it never be said that it can't happen here.

Welcome to the 1930's! 1939-1945 is just around the corner.

Gilbert G. French, Wisconsin Street, Rochester




Transplant hope

I was thrilled to see your July 9 cover story on organ donation. Thrilled because you discussed such an important issue and made it a cover story. Thrilled also, because it really hits home to me, since 19 years ago I was the recipient of a cadaver kidney.

I waited on dialysis for almost two years for a transplant. Having a machine keep you alive is not a pleasant existence, and two years seemed an eternity. Today, that amount of time seems inconsequential compared to the wait people face, as stated in your article.

As current president of TAO (Transplant Awareness Organization), I am involved with a group of over 100 members who have had a live-saving transplant. Other members of our group include transplant candidates, family members, and organ-donor family members. Our group, along with many other local organ-donation organizations, works hard to promote organ and tissue donation. We are working to make sure that everyone gets the chance for a new life that we had.

We are pleased whenever an article on donation makes it to the public's attention because it creates awareness. We have to spread the word to promote organ donation so that potential transplant recipients can have a chance to lead a normal healthy life.

Thank you for featuring this story. It could mean life or death to a patient in the Rochester area.

Karen Gledhill, Aspen Drive, Rochester (Information on TAO and its work is available from Gledhill at her Aspen Drive address)




River walk

Another example of stellar city planning in Rochester: the east bank of the Genesee River at the River Park Commons housing project. How many tens of millions were spent here? Beautifully done, quite scenic, especially at twilight on a summer's eve. Now, quickly strewn with broken 40-ouncers and gangs of predatory adolescents from the adjacent housing.

Totally unusable. Hello? What were you thinking? Wasn't this foreseeable? Those were my tax dollars you just wasted. Thanks.

Matthew Davis, Bellevue Drive, Rochester




Caller I-D

Last month I was pulled over by a state trooper for using my cell phone while driving. That phone call cost me $100. Who do I call when I see a police officer using his phone when driving?

Jon Adair, Mt. Vernon Avenue, Rochester




Rundel Park improvement?

One of the most valuable assets in the City of Rochester is its eight preservation districts. Each is different and distinct to Rochester's history. The largest of those eight is the East Avenue district, designated in the 1970s. That district enjoys the multiple honor of being listed on the National Register and being a New York State and Federal Preservation District.

It takes a considerable amount of time and research to designate a neighborhood a preservation district. In the case of East Avenue, three major city streets --- Park Avenue, University Avenue, and East Avenue --- and all the cross streets are included. The historic contribution of this district to the fabric of the city is off the scale in value. But one development continually presents itself: "capital improvement."

A case in point is the city's regular street maintenance and reconstruction. In 1984, the city decided to install new fiberglass poles bearing high-intensity sodium-vapor lights on Rundel Park. It was part of a money-saving program for the city. But the neighbors stated very clearly that the new program was not good enough for their historic street.

The neighborhood association president at that time, Caroline Snyder, reminded City Hall that malls on city streets, which date from the 19th century, were granted landmark status in 1970s and should be protected. "Since this is designated a landmark site," she said, "we shouldn't have to do that."

It should be remembered that landmark designation always stays with the property. It does not go away. But it can be eroded to a point that the property isn't worth as much as it was when first designated.

The neighborhood won its battle in 1984. Today is different. Rundel Park has lost its battle to be preserved. It has been clear cut of its trees, and the light poles are being replaced with new Milwaukee Harp lamp posts, in order to widen the street for cars.

Why the difference from 1984 to 2002? For one thing, people who live on the street have changed. Another difference is that the street is now zoned R3, meaning that each house that was originally built as a single-family dwelling can now have multiple families. At certain times of the day, cars are parked everywhere, on a street meant to be park-like.

According to the city ordinance, preservation districts are created because they are found to be in the interest of the health, prosperity, and welfare of the city and its residents. Among the purposes: protecting areas of special character; safeguarding the city's historic, aesthetic, and cultural heritage; stabilizing and improving property values; fostering civic pride; and enhancing the city's attraction to tourists and visitors.

One option for Rundel Park was to leave the mall alone and improve the zoning regulations, say, rezone the street to R-1 (for single-family residential use). But the neighbors, mostly tenants, wanted the changes, and landlords had no desire to change their rental property.

So preservation of a historic district and a city jewel loses again.

Jeanne de Keyserling, South Avenue, Rochester

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