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Coming up on Connections: Wednesday, August 17, 2022

A skyline view of Rochester
Max Schulte
Downtown Rochester skyline view.

First hour: Discussing the proposed Business Improvement District (BID) in downtown Rochester

Second hour: How to improve broadband access and affordability in Monroe County

On Tuesday night, Rochester City Council voted to move forward with the planning for a proposed Business Improvement District (BID) in downtown Rochester. A BID is a public-private partnership and a special taxing district used to fund additional services, be it beautification, security or event planning. The proposal has led to polarization among community members who support it and those that don't, along with questions about what a BID actually is and does. This hour, our guests help us understand the process, where it currently stands, and where different groups stand on the model. Our guests:

  • Galin Brooks, president and CEO of Rochester Downtown Development Corporation 
  • Shawn Dunwoody, artist and community arts organizer
  • Patrick Dutton, developer with Dutton Properties
  • Brian Sharp, business and development reporter for WXXI News and CITY Magazine

Then in our second hour, recently on Connections, Paychex founder Tom Golisano said that if people want access to reliable internet service, but can't get it, they just have to move. But research indicates many people can't afford to move, and they have been asking local governments to do more to provide broadband services. Monroe County is currently assessing internet access and affordability in the area. The process comes on the heels of the pandemic shutdowns, when low-income families were disproportionately affected by a lack of internet access or unreliable access. On Tuesday, in response, the county announced a new subsidy for income-eligible households to save $30 per month on internet. This hour, we discuss broadband access in the county and what's next in making it more widely available and affordable for all residents. Our guests:

  • Ana Liss, director of the Monroe County Department of Planning and Development, and executive director of COMIDA and MCIDC
  • Joe Carella, senior broadband consultant at Magellan Advisors, which is working with Monroe County to assess local broadband access
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.
Emmarae Stein is the production assistant for "Connections with Evan Dawson."