Plurality favors scrapping Renaissance Square project
One-third support Duffy’s proposal to omit arts center
Respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll weighed in on the proposed $230 million Renaissance Square project. A plurality, nearly 40 percent, said the project should be scrapped.
At a July 15 public meeting of Mayor Robert Duffy and Rochester City Council with Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and other administrators of the project, the mayor and council members proposed a pared-down development. One-third of Snap Poll respondents support this plan, which calls for constructing the Monroe Community College facility as currently designed while reducing the size of the transit center and eliminating the performing arts center.
Brooks and Mark Aesch, CEO of the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, said changes at this date would kill the project. Their position-moving forward with the project as planned-was supported by 28 percent of respondents.
On Tuesday, Brooks outlined two proposals designed to prevent the loss of $24 million in federal funding for Renaissance Square, including a formal fund-raising deadline for the theater component.
Roughly 875 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted July 20 and 21.
Which plan for Renaissance Square do you support?
I do not support any plan for Renaissance Square; the project should be scrapped 39%
I support the current plan (backed by Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and RGRTA) 28%
I support the alternative plan with a smaller transit center and no performing arts center
(proposed by Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy and City Council) 33%
Once again, I must reiterate that the performing arts center is the critical piece of this project. First, it is necessary; the Auditorium Theatre is too old and too small to become the roadhouse we should have. Second, it is the theater that will be the catalyst that will bring people downtown. A transit center and MCC campus are nice, but they’re already downtown; we need the theater to revitalize the city center.
Matthew D. Wilson
Oh, please! This Renaissance Square project is one of the biggest pieces of pork barrel, politically bankrupt legislation to ever squander the taxpaying public’s money. When will our “leaders” come to grips with our massive deficits (local, state and national) and realize that this is a bad idea? Maybe when the NYS Senate actually gets to work and someone suggests that we come up with a smarter, less costly plan that takes into account our needs without paying $240 million on a white elephant? Never? Yeah, that’s probably right.
Bob Fischl, Honeoye Falls
Can you say “fast ferry”?
This is neither the time, nor the economy nor the proper plan for this monument to excess and ego.
Steven G. Poyzer
Why would anyone want a bus garage at Main and Clinton? No one has said what will happen to the Sibley building once a new MCC downtown campus is built. How about using some of the area for residential and service retail that will generate tax revenue? Renaissance Square is now the third financial fiasco (the ferry and the soccer stadium are No. 1 and No. 2) spearheaded by local government.
Michael Shacket, Corner Office Consulting Inc.
At this stage of the game, why throw good money after bad? The MCC project makes sense, but my guess is that the theaters downtown are not selling out and are probably having a tough time staying in the black. Ren Square sounds like another fast ferry. Better to give the money back and help cover the loss our legislators created in June. Let commercial developers take over the development. If downtown is to survive, someone besides the politicians has to believe it.
There are many times when one has a great vision, doesn’t know exactly how it is going to come together, but proceeds anyway with great faith. So it is with this plan. Renaissance Square with no performing arts center does nothing to move us toward the reality of a vibrant city center and is no renaissance at all. Now is the time to move forward with faith and courage, not retreat in fear.
Jeff Robinson, Lee Hecht Harrison
What a waste of taxpayer money. No one really wants this or thinks we need it. There are many other things the city could have done with the $24 million (already spent).
07/24/09 (C) Rochester Business Journal