The Plymouth Exchange Neighborhood Association expressed discontent with the building plans for the new UR Riverview Apartments. The 19th Ward Residents believed they had been misled because city officials approved a different version of the building plans than was originally presented to residents in community meetings in February.
The Riverview Apartments are scheduled to be completed by August 2008 and will house 400 UR students in 120 riverfront apartments. The University will lease the five buildings through agreements with Riverview Equity for five years with renewable options, as well as the right for the University to refuse purchasing the property.
Tom Mancuso’s Nov. 28 article in the Rochester City Newspaper outlined some of the changes made to the plans in response to residents’ complaints. To increase public river access, a system of sidewalks will lead from the entrances of the apartments to Plymouth Avenue; there will be no keyed access at these entrances. Also, no bars will be placed in first floor windows. Entrances facing Plymouth Avenue will be added so that the front and back of the buildings look the same. However, fences will still surround the buildings.
“I don’t want to leave the impression that people can use this site as a public space,” developer John Yurtchuk said. “I can’t go through your backyard, and you can’t go through mine. We have students who are paying to live here, and we have to consider their privacy and security needs.”
In response to the meeting of Plymouth Avenue residents, Director of Residential Life Laurel Contomanolis explained the University’s intentions in order to relieve the confusion.
“The University was certainly not trying to offend anyone; we do not want to wall ourselves off from the community but engage our upperclassmen with community members,” she said. “I think the community is satisfied with the changes made to the plans.”
Contomanolis stressed that students need to feel safe and be safe in their new residence.
She outlined plans for extensive lighting on the bridge and in the parking lot between the halls. Also, blue lights and security cameras throughout all five buildings will promote the overall feeling of security.
Furthermore, entrances to all buildings will be keyed and two security officers with vehicles will patrol the Riverview and Brooks Landing complexes. The bridge across the river will possibly be redesigned to include a fork that will lead closer to the Riverview Apartments.
A Town Hall meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m. to explain the logistics of the Riverview housing lottery. It will be held in Hoyt Auditorium.
Contomanolis expressed her enthusiasm about the coming collaboration.
“It is an exciting time for the University. Fall 2008 will be an inaugural year for the students and the surrounding community,” Contomanolis said.
Kashika is a member of the class of 2010.