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Elderly housing in Cobbs Hill

Rochester is a lovely city in many ways: we have a strong sense of community, beautiful landscapes and parks. However, we are also facing significant challenges that we need to come together to solve – including a lack of affordable housing. That's why it's important that we fully support the redevelopment of an affordable housing community that has been helping to meet this need for some 60 years – Cobbs Hill Village.

I am very familiar with the nonprofit that operates this affordable housing complex, Rochester Management, Inc., which has an exemplary track record in developing and managing housing communities for low-income families. As president and CEO of the not-for-profit PathStone Corporation, I understand the hard work and dedication that goes into the development of below-market housing, and the profound ways it can help improve the lives of residents.

Cobbs Hill Village serves a segment of Rochester's population that should not be overlooked: its senior citizens. Rochester Management's redevelopment plans for the property will increase the number of below-market affordable rental units in Rochester and create high-quality senior housing for generations to come. Our seniors deserve safe, quality, affordable homes. As we think about how to expand affordable housing in Rochester, it makes sense to start with how we can improve and expand existing property that's already zoned and readied for it.

It is evident to anyone who visits the current Cobbs Hill Village, which was built in 1957, that is it in dire need of redevelopment. Following its initial modernization plans, Rochester Management has worked tirelessly with residents, neighbors, city officials, and other concerned parties to accommodate expressed concerns regarding the redevelopment. Based on the input gathered at those meetings, it has revised its plans for everything from the planned height and number of the buildings to the type of stone and color scheme adorning the buildings' exteriors.

By working in concert with residents, neighbors, city officials, and other community members, Rochester Management has vastly improved its modernization plans. Now is the time to move forward toward final approval and redevelopment of this extraordinarily valuable resource for the seniors who call Cobbs Hill their village.


Over many years, City News has enriched my urban experience by publishing both in depth and briefer news items, but I found the recent News from the Week Past a disappointment in reporting on the submission of a revised plan for Cobbs Hill Village. Although the gist of the brief report was correct, the "spin" was decidedly out of touch. Here are some of the facts.

A new plan has been submitted by Rochester Management to build five new buildings with 98 apartments in Cobbs Hill Village, which is totally surrounded by Cobbs Hill Park. After they tear down the existing low-rent, single-story apartments for the elderly, two of the new buildings will have three stories immediately next to Norris Drive, rising over the park trees, beside the new children's playground and basketball courts.

The article reports that "some of the residents in the area" have opposed the $25 million project. The fact is, a Coalition for Cobbs Hill Park has been in existence for a year. It is made up of the Tenants Association of the Village, as well as multiple neighborhood groups, environmental groups (including Sierra Club), and the Elder Justice Committee of Metro Justice.

This is hardly just "some residents" who oppose the out-of-proportion new plans. There is widespread opposition to Rochester Management's presumption that the project should be approved because, as they say, they "have made some costly concessions to the original plan based on community input."

The fact is, the Coalition never approved Rochester Management's plans and is fighting to preserve the unobtrusive, very-low-cost senior's Village, which is causing no harm to the park and which offers limited income seniors a fine place to live. 


Trump and the Dems' future

On Urban Journal's "Donald Trump's America: Just What Voters Wanted": I continue to think that Trump's simple, clear, repetitive, authoritarian promise to bring back jobs, to make the deal, was a "yoozh" factor in his Electoral College win.

I agree that for many white men (and even women), a female president following a black president was just too much. Especially for white, working-class men without jobs – but not only.

Hillary – though the "best" nominee ever, according to President Obama – was probably not the "right" woman. Too bold, too elitist, too much baggage (especially when trumped by Trump ad nauseum). Although I didn't support Joe Biden, I do think he would have won against Trump, since he is such a folksy, affable guy with a working-class background. Why should one have to be folksy to become president?

I don't think that Trump will resign from boredom; too much power to lose. But if the ACLU and other lawsuits are successful and he has to distance himself from some of his much-loved $$$, he might resign.

As for the next Democratic presidential nominee... I wonder. Elizabeth Warren is terrific but too bold to be elected. Bernie is a Democratic Socialist, which probably precludes him. Right-wing Republicans would instantly drop Democratic from Socialist and scare too many voters. Joe Biden? How old is he now? Or a left-leaning, moderate woman like Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota? Or?