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The new plans for Cobbs Hill Village

Cobbs Hill Park's visitors may never have noticed the senior housing community located along Norris Drive since 1957. But you might be hearing about it now. As members of the all-volunteer board of Rochester Management, the non-profit that manages this community, we want to address some of what's been said about our plans.

We share city residents' love for Cobbs Hill Park. We understand that a project in its vicinity should be undertaken with great care and extensive input, so we've engaged in active dialogue with representatives from several neighborhood groups and city departments for well over a year, sharing project information and modifying plans based on their input. Despite these efforts, some individuals are actively promoting a variety of falsehoods. We object to efforts to mislead the public and our residents – so here are the facts.

There is an affordable housing shortage in Rochester. The Cobbs Hill Village modernization plan will increase the number of affordable units from 60 to 104. Further, the property has long been zoned for high-density residential use. With affordable housing sites hard to find and even harder to get approved, we think utilizing land dedicated for that purpose since the 50's makes sense.

While Cobbs Hill Village is adjacent to the park with which it shares its name, it is on a separate parcel dedicated for senior housing by deed. Our proposed development will be located entirely on the current parcel, not use any park land, and continue to be for affordable senior housing.

Since its inception, Cobbs Hill Village has been governed by New York State Mitchell Lama program guidelines for low-to-middle income housing. "Mitchell Lama" is not a household term, and it pains us to see opponents misrepresent our compliance with a complex affordable housing program administered by New York State. To suggest that the income mandate for the property will change in any way under our plan is inaccurate and misleading. Every unit in the modernized complex will continue to be affordable under state guidelines.

The current apartments are very small and open directly into parking lots. They lack basic amenities any senior housing built in the last 20 years would have, like individual heat controls, wheelchair accessible bathrooms, or gathering space to prevent isolation. No level of renovation can create the space needed to add these basic amenities. Rochester's seniors deserve better.

We appreciate the passion that many people have for our great city and respect their right to speak out. We simply ask that they do so in a way that respects our right to advocate for modern senior affordable housing in this location, free from false and misleading statements. For more information, please visit


Bringewatt, Costanza, and Messina are members of the all-volunteer board of the non-profit housing agency Rochester Management, which operates Cobbs Hill Village.

Carousel art

On plans to design a new panel for the Charlotte carousel, replacing one offensive to African Americans: Rochester has a large African-American population, and they are well represented in the political arena, but I don't see any substantial effort (by either white or black) community leaders to build bridges between the two.

Replacing a carousel panel showing a black child (admittedly a caricature) with something depicting black power will satisfy some, but is not going to engender love between races, any more than removing statues of historical figures.

If there is a need to replace the panel, let me suggest one showing racial harmony.


Urban poverty

On Urban Journal's column on Rochester losing the fight against poverty: The word "losing" implies that there is an actual effort underway to change these circumstances. That's only a view from a perch in The Land of Make Believe.


Here's a suggestion: Stop ignoring the plight of black people in your city. It's going to require more attention than many in Rochester think is worth giving those areas or people, but you're gonna have to do it, or things are just going to get worse.


More tech startups in downtown Rochester will help. And City Hall needs to do what it takes to get existing businesses to move out of suburban office parks and into downtown.


Poverty is not confined to the inner city. There is also lot of poverty in the suburbs and out in the country. Nobody likes poverty or the fact that there is so much poverty in this area.

People of different color moved out to the suburbs because they didn't want their children accosted by gangs and drug dealers. They got tired of having their home and car burglarized.

I am responsible for nothing that happens in the inner city of Rochester. You're one of those fools that wants to blame people for something they had nothing to do with. There is opportunity out there, but you have to work for it.

Stop playing the race card. You say America's post-Civil War history is one of deliberate segregation; what idiocy. Ever heard of Brown v Board of Education? How about the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

Did you know we elected a black president, not once but twice?

You want to spew divisive rhetoric, cast blame, and fan the flames of hatred. Shame on you for writing such an ugly piece of fear mongering and race baiting.


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