James Sheppard Responds to Parcel 5 Announcement

Along with all Rochesterians reacting to this morning's news about Parcel 5 - apparently including those directly involved in what was billed by the mayor as a deliberative, transparent bidding process - I am surprised. More than that, I am concerned. The scattershot, haphazard way in which new development projects are being conceived throughout the city is deeply troubling - and unfortunately, this is just the latest indication. 

Since nobody has any real detail on this project, which came completely out of left field, I am left with questions. Chief among them, what is the funding package? If in fact State funding will be necessary, have our leaders in State government been consulted - and has funding been committed? How about our local government partners on City Council? Furthermore, all signs point to a difficult budget picture for the City of Rochester headed into the next fiscal year. With so many competing needs, it is critical that we all understand how these decisions are being made, and what the City's priorities are. 

We are rich with talented people who care about our community, and are ready to invest in our future. That is amazing - and all the more reason why we need to get our house in order. Thank you to Tom Golisano, Bob Morgan, Andy Gallina and the many other developers who are investing of themselves to see a revitalized Rochester. We are all deeply grateful for your contributions.

It is important to have a leader who harnesses that tremendous potential - and addresses downtown development not piecemeal, but as part of an overall vision for downtown and our entire city. That is clearly not happening, and while I will reserve judgement until a full plan and vision is articulated, I am not encouraged by the lack of transparency surrounding this decision, or how it has been shared with the community. We can do better.