On the road to Parcel 5
On a recent drive through the city, several random thoughts came to mind.
1) Parcel 5 and the Loop: From where I was to where I wanted to go, I had to travel city streets, and I was forced to stop at 13 traffic lights. Two years ago, I would have stopped at one traffic light, gotten onto the Inner Loop, and arrived at my destination quickly and efficiently without being annoyed and without polluting the air unnecessarily.
One of the lights I stopped at was adjacent to Parcel 5. There wasn't much happening on the gravel lot that day. There was a person taking a short cut through Parcel 5 and two people standing near of the middle talking. It dawned on me what that empty space represented to me: breathing room. It's an empty lot; a totally empty lot. It represents freedom and the great wide open or at least as great and as open as a city space allows.
Some say the city already has enough downtown parks. But parks carry a lot of baggage - benches, statues, monuments, gardens, trees, shrubs, fountains, sidewalks, trash cans, lights, etc. Parcel 5 could continue to be exactly what it currently is: breathing room.
2) Development - and the Loop: If the proposed developments on the Inner Loop site produce the expected results, and if the performing arts center is built and attracts people to the city, the city might need something like the Inner Loop of years ago to move the flow of traffic. One big event at the War Memorial is enough to paralyze traffic in the city. Imagine simultaneous events at the War Memorial, the Auditorium Theater, and a new performing arts center. I miss the Inner Loop.
3) Rochester's poverty mission: Despite all the development talk in the city, I never hear talk about how these developments might positively impact city residents living in poverty. It seems bizarrely incongruent that this area has a task force working on the issue of poverty and we have major projects in the works but there is no connection.
To be successful in addressing poverty, fighting poverty has to be a priority and has to be part of everything good that might be happening in the city. Whether it is a performing arts center or a hotel and shops near the Museum of Play, jobs will be created. Why isn't anyone focusing on connecting those jobs with unemployed or underemployed city residents living in poverty? If no one makes these developments part of the solution, they are actually part of the problem.
Find the funding for the new theater
On arts leaders' concern about the impact of a new RBTL theater for Parcel 5: I think the impact on other arts venues will be positive. A rising tide lifts all boats.Informative public forums, fine; but quickly, please. The proposal was already selected and not without reason. The main focus now should be to secure the funds and complete the project before the opportunity vanishes.