Community groups use Earth Day to bring attention to Parcel 5 and other issues

Apr 22, 2018

A performing arts center and residential complex that has been proposed for a key piece of land in downtown Rochester continues to generate a lot of discussion.

Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

People from a number of groups gathered at the Parcel 5 site off Main Street on Sunday to make sure their voices are heard.

They gathered on Earth Day, and that was appropriate since a number of environmental activists are also part of a group called the Our Land Roc Coalition.

The organization says it is advocating for land use policies that address the needs of residents, maintains affordability and puts a priority on environmental sustainability.

Abby McHugh-Grifa is with the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition.  She emphasized that this coalition is not taking a firm position for or against the plans for the downtown parcel that have already been discussed.

“Such a diverse range of groups coming together not specifically to take a position on Parcel 5 but to take a position on the need for more community input and more transparency around decisions, all decisions related to development in the City of Rochester,” she told WXXI News.

Frank Regan is with the local Sierra Club chapter.  He says the development process should also key in to the city's effort to deal with land use and climate change.

Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

“This event specifically, isn’t about Parcel 5; it’s more or less to promote the land use concept of how we address climate change locally through our land policies.”

Organizers say they particularly want to make sure that whatever developments are discussed in Rochester include a transparent process that gives residents a voice in how city funds are allocated. 

The Parcel 5 project is still being reviewed by City Council while backers of the project are working to secure the necessary funding.