News from February 15, 2011 PARC Meeting

So, there’s a first time for everything. And tonight was my first Park Avenue Revitalization Committee (PARC) meeting. Whoo hoo! I’m pretty certain I was the only one there who was dropped off by her babysitter’s mother (Adam had a previous engagement, so was using our car.) What can I say? That’s how I roll.

I was happy to meet Michael Brown (it was his first official neighborhood meeting too), who headed up our recent little neighborhood coffee shop grassroots movement, as well as the other neighbors and leaders from our groovy neighborhood.

Here’s how the evening went:

  • Beautification of Lot Behind Museum and Science Center: The Park Meigs Neighborhood Association is working with the city and the museum to come up with a plan to beautify and improve the greenspace behind the museum.  With the help of some allocated city grant funds and their own fundraising efforts, they finally plan to start work in the spring.  The focus will first be on the gate and entrance and the surrounding landscaping.  They will be accepting requests for design proposals soon and hope to move quickly from there.  That greenspace will be maintained by the Park Meigs NA.
  • Get Out Your Cowbells & Vuvuzelas: This year’s Flower City Half Marathon will run through our neighborhood. (Park Ave residents Ellen Brenner and her husband own  Fleet Feet on Monroe and Yellow Jacket Racing, sponsors of the race.) Our neighborhood will be early in the race, which means the runners will still be spry and happy when we all come out to cheer them on in our jammies.  They will run down East Ave, make a right on Brunswick, make another right on Park Ave and then let you go inside to crawl back in bed.  Ellen and her husband are proud to be a part of the Park Avenue neighborhood and weaved the route through here to showcase it.  Participants in the half marathon will get to vote on which neighborhood had the most spirit and the winning neighborhood gets $750.  It’s like money falling from the sky, people!  All you have to do is get out and cheer.
  • Park Ave Summer Art Fest: Mark your calendars — August 6 and 7.  Applications for artists and exhibitors are up 58% from this time last year.  Laura Wilder is the local artist who was chosen to design the posters, t-shirts, etc.
  • Park Ave/Barrington Bench:  John Grieco, who designed the groovy bench that looks like a sofa (on Portsmouth or Merriam, I think) and that umbrella bus stop on University near Art Walk is going to be making a bench for Park Ave.
  • Hair Zoo: Jimmy Catalano said he’s been receiving a lot of calls and e-mails about the Hair Zoo coming in (where the Rite Aid used to be; between Cobbs Hill Pizza and Wilson Farms).  People are upset that a national chain was allowed to come in, which isn’t keeping with the character of the neighborhood.  He wants everyone to know that the Hair Zoo was started here.  It is a Rochester-based chain.  Hair Zoo will not occupy that entire vacant space.  It has been divided into thirds; the Hair Zoo will occupy a third.  The entire space has been vacant for over a year.
  • Dado: The woman’s clothing store is moving its Park Ave store to *sigh* Clover and Monroe.   If anyone has any leads for prospective renters, point them to the Park Avenue Merchants’ Association or Jimmy Catalano.
  • Spin: I know.  Last?  Yes, but they covered neighborhood issues first and did businesses last.  They didn’t spend nearly as much time on this as some of us did last week. :)   I filled everyone in on our little neighborhood movement that rallied to talk to the owner of the building and prospective renters.  I told them about Michael’s letter and the signatories.   Everyone around the table agreed they want to see another coffee shop or cafe that offers a community gathering spot go in there, so are going to call in all the reinforcements they can.

It’s late and I’m tired.  I apologize for any type-os, but wanted to get this typed up and available to all of you.  Let me know if you have any questions or would like more details on anything.  If I don’t have the answer (be warned; I’m a newbie, so probably won’t), I’ll find someone who does.

4 Responses

  1. Adam February 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    I’ll take a Hair Zoo over vacant space (for over a year) any day. While we’re at it, why can’t we get it together to propose that the entire Wilson Farms mini-mall be brought out to the street and given a proper, architecturally-appropriate, urban facade. Have you seen what they’ve built over there in the South Wedge? It’s making Park Ave look a little shabby people! :-)

  2. Michael Brown February 16, 2011 at 12:58 pm #


    Thanks for the wonderfully detailed account of the PARC meeting! You didn’t miss a beat!

    I am heartened to learn that the group will be taking up the cause of a coffee shop in the Spin location. If there’s anything that I can do to contribute to those efforts, please let me know.

    PARC seems like an excellent group, and it was great to meet you there!

  3. Susan Alvarez February 16, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    Thanks so much for the update! Just heard about plans for the loss of Pomodoro’s (sigh) which will be a huge loss. Summers on the back deck were great! Apparently someone has bought the whole building site and plan to tear it down and build…are you ready for it??? An LA Gym. OK – so I am not the biggest enthusist of gyms – although I do give my monthly stipen to Midtown. I think counting the new one going in where the Armory is – we now will have 5 gyms within maybe 4 miles of our neighborhood. Yea…

  4. Renee February 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    Thanks for the update, Susan. They are tearing the building down and making the ENTIRE thing a gym? (For those of you who don’t know where Pomodoro’s is: it’s at 1290 University.)

    Susan, will the restaurant be moving somewhere else? Are they looking at staying in the area? And any other news about what’s going into the Culver Road Armory? Other than one of Rochester’s biggest law firms and a gym?

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