Community input wanted on future of downtown

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 24, 2016

ROCHESTER — Downtown Rochester is booming these days, according to Rochester Downtown Development Authority Director Kristi Trevarrow, and city officials want to make sure it stays that way for years to come.

Members of the community will gather 6-9 p.m. April 13 to give their input on the city during a Downtown Visioning Session organized by the Rochester DDA, the Rochester City Council and the Rochester Principal Shopping District.

Trevarrow said the purpose of the session — which will be facilitated by downtown revitalization expert and “Flip This Town” author Ron Drake — is to guide the future growth and development of downtown Rochester.

“Downtown is in a really good place right now — it looks great. We have great occupancy, but we don’t want to rest on our laurels. We want to look at what’s next, how we maintain our vibrancy, what people like and what people think is missing,” Trevarrow explained. 

PSD Chairman Alan Smith, who owns Rochester Ballroom, said there are a lot of ideas floating around about downtown.

“There is obviously a great deal of interest in the city at the moment from developers and private people wanting to buy homes here. We do have an awesome downtown, so we want to be able to preserve what we have and develop it for the future. … It’s all about the future for the city,” he explained.

Drake said he is excited to be able to come to Rochester for the visioning session.

“I always talk about Rochester as being one of my favorite downtowns in America. It just has a really good feel about it,” he said. “And I am proud of them for already wanting to take initial steps to see what they can do to make it better and what they can do to prevent it from becoming stagnant.” 

Drake said the 150 attendees will be split into tables of 10, each with its own facilitator. Each table will discuss future development, what draws people downtown and new ideas for the downtown.

“I’ll finish the evening (by having everyone) imagine what it would be like if all these things happened,” Drake said. “Hopefully I can provoke some great ideas.”

The Rochester DDA is seeking individuals from the greater Rochester area to participate in the session, which will be open to 150 people, including residents, business owners and city officials To apply, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/DowntownRochester and complete the survey. Selected participants will receive email confirmation in early April.