A public meeting about the High Falls EcoDistrict will be held this Thursday, June 15 at MADE ON STATE in Rochester from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Rachel Walsh from Greentopia and Andre Primus from Highland Planning discussed the idea of the EcoDistrict and what people can expect at the meeting Tuesday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“The EcoDistrict makes an attempt to do sustainable development at a neighborhood scale,” explained Walsh. “Instead of trying to do the whole city, or the whole state or one house at a time, we take a neighborhood. We say, this is really the best scale to get things done quickly but really have that impact because it’s more than just one house at a time. We picked the High Falls neighborhood to revitalize the area around the falls. This is where clean energy started in Rochester. It seemed like really the best place to sort of plant that stake and say we’re going to start here.”

Walsh said EcoDistricts is an organization out of Portland, and they provide a framework for how to go about this. “They use a holistic sort of approach,” she said. “It’s not just clean energy or clean water, it also addresses social sustainability, which means are people healthy? Are they active? Are they eating well? You organize it into six priority areas, then we do projects within those areas, depending on funding, manpower and things like that.”

The meeting is aimed at helping people gain a better understanding of all the stakeholders involved with the High Falls EcoDistrict. “One of the things that we want to do with this meeting is show people, that while Greentopia has created a plan for this neighborhood, things have already started going on in the city and in the region,” said Primus. “We’re going to have representatives from Reconnect Rochester, the Community Design Center, the County, the City and the Peoples’ Climate Coalition. We’re going to have people who are basically– Foodlink’s going to be there as well. We’re going to have people who are doing this sort of work already, so that when people come, they’re going to say, ‘hey! You know?’ We’ll tell them ‘we’re going to do Community Solar, what do you think of that?’ If they don’t know what Community Solar is, someone there from the People’s Climate Coalition will be there to say, ‘let me explain Community Solar to you to get your real opinion and get some more information.’ We’re really trying to make it more of a collaborative process to get all these groups together and get a lot of people in, and simultaneously educate these people on what’s going on in Rochester and what we’re hoping to do, and get their opinion so when we start moving into implementation, we’ll have their community support.”

MADE ON STATE is located at 510 State Street in Rochester. For more information about the High Falls EcoDistrict, click here.