Musings Around Town

Just some thoughts I've had as I live, drive, bike and walk through our beloved downtown Rochester.

Spring is upon us here in Rochester and the weather is finding its way back to those highs we experienced early in March.  The construction project downtown seems to be going quite well.  Workers have stripped two lanes, all the parking spaces and half of the sidewalk in preparation for connecting all businesses to the new water main that will be installed this summer.  Hard to believe that Main Street will be closed by next Tuesday.  It is too bad that none of the downtown businesses have upper balconies (at least ones open to the public).  I think many people have enjoyed seeing history unearthed and watching the big equipment at work.  It will certainly be interesting to see how traffic flows through the detours.

Speaking of the detours, I have been taking Diversion Street into town just before the south hill bridge and driving up Walnut.  The one thing I noticed is that it is just a broad expanse of blank black top!  The parking lines and crosswalk lines have all faded or been scrubbed off.  Makes it kind of confusing for parking.  Perhaps they are planning on repainting them soon.  I hope so because a lot of traffic is about to head that way and our "second main street" should get spruced up a bit.  

On a bike ride last night from downtown to Fitness 19 I crossed over the Paint Creek bridge.  I stopped to check out the new look out point. Workers have been busy installing the decorative railing and planter boxes on the bridge.  It is turning out very nicely.  They placed a ledge of those big stones in the water creating a waterfall in the creek.  I didn't think we got that much rain yesterday but when I walked down the steps to the trail I heard the roar of a very swollen river and saw there was about 6" of standing water under the bridge.  The power of the water combined with the echo under the bridge made a great sound.  I took a few photos.  

After riding to the gym I swung by Kroger for milk and headed back home.  You certainly feel like you have earned your groceries when you have to pedal up hill for them!  Once again I found myself wishing for a grocery store downtown.  Maybe Mind, Body and Spirit could be turned into a gourmet grocery with a sandwich/deli counter, a daydream of mine.  Coming back down University I was thinking about the great bicycle/car debate of where a bicycle belongs.  Most drivers will say the bicycle belongs on the sidewalk.  Legally bicycles can be on the road but it is dangerous.  Most sidewalks aren't wide enough to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists.  What infuriates many drivers is when cyclists ride on the road, then run a red light and get up on the sidewalk.  They can't have it both ways.  I wouldn't have wanted to be on the road last night though.  Even with a flashing light, it was dark and rainy and I really didn't want to get hit.  

The annual carnival kicked off this past weekend with cool LED equiped Ferris wheel at the corner of Avon and Rochester Rd on the old Snook Farm.  It is sure to attract locals although they are sure to experience a construction handicap this year with the Avon bridge closed and the Main Street bottle neck.  It is different for me to live in a city that doesn't have a carnival closer to the downtown.  Growing up in New Baltimore we had our Fish Fly Festival right downtown.  I used to think the corner of Second and Mill would make a good fairgrounds (for those who don't know, the southeast corner of Walton and Livernois was once our fairgrounds).  We have so many wonderful events downtown Rochester and I was thinking of one more:  A country hoedown in front of the Rochester Elevator.  We have come a long way from our roots as a mill/farm town but I think there would be interest and it would be a fun event for the whole family.

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Debbie Larsen May 09, 2012 at 08:22 PM
You're right - the carnival was called the Village Fair back in those days, and it ran on Memorial Day weekend. The city fathers had to call a halt to it because the rides caused too much damage to the park turf, and out of that change the Heritage Festival was born as an alternative that still provided a holiday weekend outdoor event for everyone to enjoy, but was friendlier to the park property.
Debbie Larsen May 09, 2012 at 08:26 PM
You're on to something here, David. Since the Mind-Body-Spirits building housed Sutton's Market, a general grocery store, for about three decades from the 1930s to 1961, it would be a real blast from the past to have a specialty grocery in there now! See http://oaklandregionalhistoricsites.org/property/1515232029 for the building's history.
David Gifford May 09, 2012 at 08:34 PM
My wife and I took a walk downtown last night and I was explaining my idea regarding a grocery store in that building and she said it wouldn't work. You couldn't really use shopping carts or else you'd be collecting them from all over downtown and without carts, you may not sell enough to afford the rent. Parking is an issue as well. There are only so many curb spots and the closest lots are a block or more away. Many stores downtown fail because they only sell things people want but I think a store that sells things that people need (like food) would do well (but only if it stays open past 6pm!!)
Laura Cassar May 09, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Hmmm, the Mills has Oktoberfest and O'Connor's has St. Patrick's Day. Maybe instead of the DDA some local restaurant/s should throw a hoe down?
Anne May 10, 2012 at 11:58 AM
or Dancin' in the Streets from Penny Black to Rojos featuring School of Rock and JCs??


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