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Commitment pays

First, Frontier Field opened to sellout crowds. Then, back-to-back news of private development in the High Falls district arrived.
It all was enough for Rochester Deputy Mayor Jeffrey Carlson to exult: “What’s happening is what we said would happen.”
The skeptics, of course, will be in no hurry to pull a 180-degree turn. And true, there is a risk of overselling the increased level of activity around High Falls.
After all, with nearly $30 million already spent on redevelopment efforts in the area, considerable ground needs to be covered to reach the break-even point. A microbrewery and an advertising agency, even one with a considerable payroll, represent only a few solid strides on what might be a long journey.
But Mr. Carlson and others who have staked much political–and in some cases, personal–capital on the future of High Falls have good reason to feel good about the quickening pace of deals involving the district.
In particular, they should by buoyed by the private-sector interest High Falls is attracting. It’s one thing to build a sports facility with public funds. Even a Bausch & Lomb Inc. headquarters project does not– and cannot–happen every day. Or decade.
The redevelopment of High Falls will succeed if dozens of small and midsize businesses share the view that it has great potential for their operations and for the city itself.
This will not happen overnight. And there always is the risk that enthusiasm will fade once Frontier Field is not the new thing in town.
To a large degree, though, the success of the High Falls effort is a matter of commitment. It will happen if enough people with sufficient resources refuse to see failure as a possibility.
One thing is certain: A venture cannot succeed if no one is willing to try–or, in fact, to envision it in the first place.
Other cities have shown that it’s possible to have more than a one-dimensional urban center that empties each day at 5 p.m. They proved historic assets can be development magnets.
People like Mr. Carlson are not out to prove it can happen. They simply know–and want others to believe–it can happen here, too.

— Rochester Business Journal


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