Sheppard Responds to Arts Community on Parcel 5: I'm Listening

Parcel 5 site is an undeveloped jewel in the heart of our city - on that we all agree. But since Mayor Warren announced in April that she was completely disregarding the results of the City’s request for proposal process and selecting the Performing Arts Center project - without any public input - there have been many questions about this important project that have gone unanswered.
 
How much will it cost? Where will the money come from? What will be the impact on city taxpayers? Is it the right fit for this critical parcel? How will it impact Rochester’s arts community beyond its only intended beneficiary: the Rochester Broadway Theatre League and its President, Warren political strategist Arnie Rothschild? It is extremely troubling that this process has unfolded under a shroud of secrecy, leaving everyone scratching their heads - and in need of actual details in order to evaluate the project's merit.
 
Now we have learned that beyond Tom Golisano’s generous pledge of $25 million, financing of the proposed project will be dependent upon another $20 million from the taxpayers of the State of New York, which Mayor Warren formally requested just this week.  Where does this leave previous City requests for State funding towards necessary improvements to the Convention Center, Blue Cross Arena and Soccer Stadium, which taxpayers already subsidize?

Unfortunately, from day one, this process has been compromised by a complete lack of transparency and community involvement. It is inconceivable that a project of this magnitude, which would have a huge footprint in downtown Rochester for generations to come, is being ramrodded through the City's "process," when so many unanswered questions remain.

That's why I called on the Mayor to go back to the table on Parcel 5 more than a month ago.
 
And it's why I am grateful to the Arts and Cultural Council, the Rochester Philharmonic, and Geva for speaking out to express their concerns. They have raised many important questions, which deserve careful consideration and answers, based on thorough analysis - not self-serving rhetoric. There is still an opportunity to bring the community together on a viable, sustainable, and shared future for this key parcel in our center city. I join with them, and the entire community, in calling for a full and transparent review. We deserve no less.