Jack's photos
Photo album
« July 2024 »
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
You are not logged in. Log in
Sunday, 15 April 2007
Be theatrical before it's too late
Topic: preservation

Very late notice:

Tomorrow night (Monday, April 16, 6:30 pm) neighbors from the Monroe-Oxford-Goodman-Meigs area, plus some Ellwanger and Barryites like myself and people from other parts of the city and suburbs, will converge on City Hall (Room 302-A) to rescue the Monroe Theater.

Once again a developer proposes to demolish most of the historic building, putting an end to its long purgatorial existence as Show World, but doing the neighborhood no other favors. The proposal, having got the kid-glove treatment so far, entails using only the façade of the theater as a Potemkin village in miniature for a grossly out-of-scale Rite Aid meant to replace the equally ugly but thankfully smaller Drug Box just across the street. (Rochesterians of a certain age will remember that Rite Aid started out on Monroe where the fish market now is located, at the corner of Rowley; it was bad enough when the company weaseled its way into the faux plaza behind Blockbuster.)

Armed with a passle of variances granted by cooperative zoning officials, the developers now will take their dog-and-pony spectacle to the city’s planning commission. The good news – at least for the next 24 hours – is that folks might stop the insanity.

Haven’t we lost enough theaters already? And, as others are asking, isn’t the city looking for performing arts spaces? Enough drooling over Renaissance Square. Save the Monroe! 

Posted by jackbradiganspula at 22:08 EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 17 March 2006
No room at the inn?
Topic: preservation
I was watching the TV news a few minutes ago. Channel 10, I think. (How smoothly the local stations blend with each other.) It hardly needs to be added that I wasn’t expecting to be inspired. At least it was a nice lull before dinner.

Then an image came up that made me look twice. Not an accident scene or anything like that. It was nothing more than an old brick building – the town of Chili’s Stagecoach Inn, right at the corner of routes 33 and 259.

You may have heard about a developer’s plans to build a Walgreen’s big-box drugstore on the site the inn now occupies. More precisely – and here I’m extrapolating from other corner parcels that have been taken over by CVS or Walgreen’s or another chain – the plan must be to “convert” the land under the old inn into a parking lot, with the store itself set well back from the roadway. (The generous set-backs mandated by contemporary building codes bear witness to how smelly, noisy, and dangerous modern public highways and streets have become.)

It’s good to see a Chili-based group coalescing to save the inn. The latest news reports say the group will ask the developer – the Illinois-based Maude Development company, according to the Democrat and Chronicle - to adjust their site plan so the inn can remain standing. Maude Inc. is not tipping its hand. And Chili town government is basically out of the picture: the town board has okayed the deal, and the building has no landmark or historic status –though at the age of 190, it should automatically qualify for some protection.

You might have heard Charleston, SC, mayor Joseph Riley speak here a few months ago. Riley has led a very preservation-minded mid-sized city for quite a few years, and more than most civic leaders he understands the currency of older architecture. On Bob Smith's WXXI show, Riley was asked to comment on Rochester's Renaissance Square concept, in particular the plan to demolish several old buildings (one of them dates back to 1855) at the corner of East Main St. and Clinton Ave. I don't recall Riley's exact words, but in essence he said that in Charleston, any 150-year old building would be preserved as a matter of course.

Things are different in our backyard, where despite years of consciousness-raising, the old "urban removal" philosophy still makes the occasional strong showing.

On March 17, I wrote to town supervisor Tracy Logel about the Stagecoach Inn. She responded quickly, and I give her credit for that. But basically she gave the issue a pass. She said the building’s owner didn’t seek any protective designation for it. And she commented more generally that people are “granted the right to buy and sell” what they own. “By law we cannot stop [the developer],” she said.

This story isn’t done yet, though. I’m hoping the good folks in Chili will organize effectively and stop the destruction. They don’t have much time, but to judge by the news, they’ve got lots of energy.

Posted by jackbradiganspula at 18:53 EST
Updated: Monday, 27 March 2006 19:36 EST
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Newer | Latest | Older