Saturday, June 11, 2005

When we add jobs, you don't hear about it as much...

Bausch and Lomb will be adding 200 jobs in an expansion. This is a good thing, in more ways than just those 200 jobs. These little additions to the local economy add up in big ways. While I don't want to go off the economics deep-end on you, it is important to remember that job quantity is only one part of the employment function. Job quality plays in as well. In this case, B&L's move is helping to cement the goal of turning Rochester into a Tech Center.

So that's good. There's an old Irish saying, that the journey of a 1000 miles starts with the first step.

Friday, June 10, 2005

My Regular Friday Night Thing

Maybe I'll see you out there.

Panel: Demolish Midtown Plaza

Not exactly the news you want to read. Sure, the thought that Midtown Plaza could have life breathed back into it falls somewhere on the reality meter between The Easter Bunny and Crop-Circles. However, even while preparing for the news, you can't quite brace yourself for the reality.

Midtown Plaza is not competitive and has outlived its usefulness to the community and employers, according to a panel of national experts that studied the downtown area.
The eight-member panel from the Urban Land Institute recommends demolishing the plaza except for the Euclid Building and the office tower.

So, yeah. The thought of exploding a Rochester fixture is not what you want to put on the poster for promoting a newly invigorated downtown. Keep in mind, I've had my fair share of history at this mall. Easily, this mall had the best set-up for the Christmas holidays, complete with that monorail that went painfully slow at a height that seemed like miles to a 12 year-old. Not to mention that as a 20 year-old, I'd make the 6 block hike to shop for groceries at the Wegman's operating out of it. Yes, a Wegman's in the city. While akin to stories concerning unicorns, a city Wegmans has the virtue of actually having existed.

Still, I'd much rather strike the match that torches this place than see a casino be installed in it. I'll touch on that some other time.

The article is not all gloom and doom. As a matter of fact, it highlights some of the positive things that are occurring in order to return downtown to some degree of its former glory.

The panel from the nonprofit educational and resource organization said Rochester is actually ahead of many of its sister cities and has started the work needed to reinvigorated the troubled area around Midtown.

For example, panel member David Slater said, there's "a lot of momentum going on" in the area of multifamily housing downtown.

Both young people and empty-nesters are moving downtown, and new projects are in the works. The city should have an eventual goal of 5,000 to 7,000 mixed-income rental and for-sale units in the center city.

I have a feeling that the Can't-Do Cattle will be neglecting this part of the article in their up-coming letters to the editor as they call for head of Mayor Johnson served up on some kind of platter forged from silver. It should be understood that stemming the exodus of downtown residents is phase one of turning the city center around. After that, it becomes easier to target the residents with the goods and services they require.

It's like some crazy "chicken or the egg" riddle playing out in Sim City on a massive scale. You can't get people to live downtown without jobs, services, and consumables. And you can't really get services and consumables (jobs to a lesser extent) without people living down there. It's the whole essence of why High-Falls has had such trouble. It needs area residents in order to prosper. The problem is that the whole housing development in the area never took off before the economy cooled. Anyway, this is getting tangential.

The bottom line is the findings that Midtown Plaza is terminal is really horrible. But if removing it places us in a better position to move forward, then we have to consider it. I have a feeling this isn't going to be the last hard choice that needs to be made.

Here goes nothing...

While I've long been tempted by the siren song of digital journals, I've resisted it based upon the fear of just adding my voice to the cacophony of pointless weblogs out there in cyberspace.

After much deliberation and consideration of my interests, as well as the realization I've been big on ideas and short on action, I've decided a blog is actually the least I could do. So here we are.

My intent is to examine, discuss, and highlight the political and economic news and situations of Greater Rochester, and in some cases, the Finger Lakes Region. Things will get political, rants will be written, and feelings may quite possibly be hurt. These are the risks we must be willing to take here at The Greater Rochester Weblog or, if we may add a new acronym to our lexicon, The GRW. However, I hope we can debate the issues without devolving into some kind of partisan crap-fight. Those are never pretty and they rarely do a bit of good, unless your initial intent is to use an issue to posture and score political brownie points. I'll try to clearly mark my attempts at that so that there is due warning of incoming crap.

If one is familiar with Rochester, then you know that there is a variety of issues that we all face everyday. The city schools, medicare, Renaissance Square, Kodak job cuts, the Fast Ferry, Finger Lakes wine country, crime, budget crises, and Paetec Park are just a few of the myriad topics available to us. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.

So now, on to the hard part: content....