Mayoral candidate James Sheppard expressed support this afternoon for the arguments being made by Geva and other Rochester arts organizations regarding the need to slow down and answer questions about the ever-changing downtown performing arts center proposal being promoted by Mayor Lovely Warren and one of her senior campaign political advisers, Arnie Rothschild.
“Ever since Mayor Lovely Warren announced in April that she was completely disregarding the results of the City’s formal application and review process to select a new Performing Arts Center project that had never been evaluated for the parcel 5 site, there have been a growing number of unanswered questions about this backroom deal.”
“We should all be very grateful to the leaders of our arts community—from Geva to the RPO to the Arts and Cultural Council --for stepping forward to express their serious concerns and to ask the tough questions. Frankly, these are the questions that the Mayor should have been asking from the beginning. But she apparently has been more interested rewarding a supporter than in looking out for the taxpayers of Rochester.”
Chief among the questions that demand answers are: How would this project be funded? What would be the impact on City taxpayers? How would a project of this scope impact Rochester’s arts community beyond its only beneficiary: the Rochester Broadway Theatre League? Will the project even fit on the site? What will happen to the Auditorium Theatre?
“Over a month ago I called on the Mayor to go back to the table on Parcel 5 and conduct a full and transparent process that takes into account the real costs and benefits to our community. Today’s news conference reinforces exactly why so many have lost confidence in this administration and their commitment to do what is right. We must demand a new and objective analysis marked by transparency and community involvement."