ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced Thursday that Parcel 5, a prized downtown lot on Main Street, will be transformed into a temporary community entertainment space called “Meet me @ the 5.”
“We always talked about Parcel 5 becoming an open-door entertainment space, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and we want to start that process,” Warren said. “I’m thankful that the Downtown Development Corporation came to us and say ‘hey listen, we’re ready, we’re ready to get started.'”
For years, the City of Rochester has been trying to develop the Main Street site, with previous proposals for a performing arts center, plans for a community space, and more projects that ultimately fell through.
“We wanted to make sure we created a space here that people could love to come and eat, explore, and do different things,” Warren said. “Today we’re here to really announce what we’re going to be doing here: A temporary entertainment space and making it user friendly. Today we’re announcing and revealing the ‘Meet Me at the 5.'”
The former location of Midtown Plaza has sat mostly vacant through the various development pitches over the past decade. It has served as a community event space occasionally, for the Rochester International Jazz Festival, as well as the Fringe Fest.
Officials say the new plans for Parcel 5 will feature a “tremendous amount of lawn space” with site work, plantings, and other items to facilitate COVID-safe concerts, art shows and smaller festivals, adding that it will be a “very inviting, and attractive place for everyone to enjoy their summer in Rochester.”
“This is a project I’ve been passionate about for years,” said Rochester City Councilmember Mary Lupien. “There’s been some people that have been really passionate about this park for a lot of years. This really is the perfect use for this space — especially during COVID when people are looking for outside gathering space — and we’re trying to rejuvenate downtown: That this is really the nexus of our city and it connects the proverbial two sides of the city and this can really be a space where our community can gather as one and it can really be a catalyst for healing.”
The mayor said while she is excited about this development, she reminded residents that this use for Parcel is temporary.
“We already had contracts for people to do landscaping, so when we look at that, we just put into the contracts that we already had,” Warren said. “I believe it’s about $250,000 that will be the total cost to get this up and running and we’re thankful that we had these contacts already working with the city. The goal is to really allow this space to be 24 hours a day, but have some private events and other things with it. We want to engage the community, and our planning department is going to be working on that, but COVID took us all on a loop and it put us on pause, but now we’re ready to hit play. This is a temporary use and it is a temporary use to show that we are in recovery and we are coming back.”
Construction started this week on the project, city officials say.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.