Rochester, N.Y. – The city is considering leveling swaths of land in the East Main Street corridor in what could be the beginning of a larger movement to “right-size” the housing stock and “green” the city. The houses would be replaced by parks or other green space.
The information is contained in the city’s Request for Proposals seeking consultants to come up with a plan to revitalize East Main Street between Goodman St. and Culver Rd.
Nineteen properties on East Main Street, as well as an entire block on Hayward and Garson avenues would be torn down. Other properties on Hayward and Chamberlain would be demolished as part of RGRTA’s expansion.
The areas identified for greening have high rates of vacancies and absentee landlords.
The city came up with “Project Green” in 2009, a plan to strategically level blighted blocks and install parks, gardens, urban farms, or forests. Residents would have to be relocated. The East Main Street RFP is the first signal that the city could be moving forward with Project Green.
“There’s a lot of empty houses and why keep an empty house if you can just tear it down and put something there,” said Amilka Aldana, who lives across from houses that would be torn down on Garson Ave. She said children often play in the street.
Pamela Jenkins lives in one of the targeted houses and was dismayed. “It’s a decent neighborhood for your kids. So I don’t understand, talk about make it a park. Make a park downtown.”
Kyle Crandall, president of the Beechwood Neighborhood Association, is excited the city wants to revitalize East Main Street, but he’s not so sure about the greening component.
“We need time to review that, hopefully be able to meet with the city and see whether or not green space is the best for those areas, or whether it be better as a commercial district or other ideas,” Crandall said.
The consultant hired for the project would have to solicit community input.
The RFP said ReHouse Rochester could be involved in deconstructing houses. The shop on East Main Street salvages and sells parts such as windows, doors, and fixtures.
“It is Main Street, usually the most important street in the city,” said Jay Rowe, an employee. “They’ve let it go. I think it would be great if they paid a lot more attention to it.”