What you need to know

  • Historic structures are shown to improve local economies and serve as important reminders of where our city has been
  • Buildings simply standing vacant don't provide value. They should be prominently featured and used for all to see
  • Must allow non-profits and those willing to preserve these buildings appropriately the flexibility to do so

There has been a lot of talk recently about how to ensure our historic buildings around Rochester are properly preserved. The topic brings a great amount of passion from those on both sides of the issue, though most agree it is time for us to do more than just state whether or not our city will support preservation and spend years debating what to do with these structures.

It's important for us to remember that just as we are grateful for having parents, grandparents, or elders of any kind in our lives, these important structures serve a similar purpose. They share stories, and stand as important reminders of our past. Because we have so few in our community, we need to preserve what we have. We must also recognize that many of these buildings were built with materials that don't preserve well, which is why it becomes difficult to leave them untouched for years, and sometimes decades, at a time.

To properly feature these vital buildings in our city, we must make repurposing easier to allow these buildings to flourish and stand strong among our ever-changing landscape. This does not mean easing restrictions, but rather allowing those wishing to preserve and showcase our historic past the ability to do so in a manner that doesn't require millions of public or private dollars or lengthy government approval. We have seen many failures in our city agreements lately to properly protect and preserve these buildings. I will require all future agreements, pending or proposed, to contain language clearly stating the expectations to be met, and the consequences of failing to meet those expectations. We must remain flexible so these projects can succeed, and we must remain firm when terms are intentionally failed to be met.