When Justin Azzarella, Director of the Elmwood Avenue Association, told me that he and Councilman David Rivera were going to meet with the decision-makers behind the Stuyvesant Plaza, I didn’t know what to think. Seeing that the plaza has looked so forlorn for so long, was there really any hope that anything would ever be done to improve the outward appearance of the property?
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a request asking BRO viewers to give their input as to how they envisioned the plaza property looking. Justin condensed those comments, and along with David Rivera, presented this list to Benchmark and PriceRite just last night:
It turned out that members of both Benchmark and PriceRite had seen the viewers’ responses (in their entirety) before meeting with Justin and David, so they were happy to see that Justin had spent the time to present what he felt were the best suggestions. Thankfully, after meeting with community block clubs, and at the same time understanding that there are a number of other concerned parties who want to see site improvements, the suggestions are being taken to heart. Justin tells me that both PriceRite and Benchmark are working towards designing some solutions to make the plaza a more enjoyable place to do business.
It looks as if Benchmark is going to build a gateway that will welcome shoppers as they walk down Elmwood. From the gateway, there will be a stamped concrete path that will help pedestrians navigate through the parking lots. There will be a second walking path that will extend from the Key Bank site to Elmwood (with no gateway). Justin has suggested that he would like to see a covered roof (as proposed by a commentor), and he would also like to see raised greenery beds positioned in the center of the lot that the path would cross through. Benchmark has agreed to plantings and landscaping along Elmwood, and at the corner of Summer there will be a garden park of some sort. The developer will also plant trees between its parking lots and the one belonging to the building to the south. That should act as a nice buffer since there is no longer a building to interrupt the parking lot sprawl.
I was surprised to hear that Benchmark liked the idea about the out-parcel buildings. Unfortunately, PriceRite is banking on all of the parking being at a premium and that would leave no room for building outcroppings. Hey, I hope that their business is that good! Kudos to Benchmark for at least considering the idea. Lastly, there is a push to replace the jacked up telephone pole highway lighting features – they are really bad. Apparently, PriceRite wasn’t even aware of that issue. David is going to work towards a resolution on the parking lot lighting.
Justin and David told me that both Benchmark and PriceRite have been very open to the suggestions brought forth. The market is scheduled to open in May. Many of the site improvements will be ongoing – I’m with Justin on the overhead roof-way idea. That could lead to a flood of new shoppers… and maybe the additional business will one day lead to PriceRite opting to expand. Can you say, “Out-parcel”? Apparently the market is doing gangbusters in Rochester… you never know. Oh, and please – one more thing… I hope that there is a way to prevent shopping cart theft, even if that means less work for local artist Julian Montague.