Rochester-UR connections help community growth and change

I was pleased to read the editorial entitled ‘Bridge Building” in the Oct. 2 edition of the Campus Times. Its positive focus and upbeat message of student engagement in the local Rochester communities indicated that the University and its neighbors are at a new and very positive turning point in their histories.

As the city councilmember who represents the district that encompasses Southwest Rochester, the Riverview Apartments and UR River Campus, I was impressed by the commitment of the students living at Riverview to the well being of Westside residents. For years, many of us who live in the neighborhoods across the river have worked with members of the University community to establish closer ties.

Despite our efforts, letters would on occasion appear in the Campus Times decrying the University’s involvement with the neighborhoods on the other side of the Genesee. With the arrival of UR President Seligman in 2005, this perception started to change.

His public endorsement of the Brooks Landing project, his enthusiasm for both student apartments and a University-tenanted office building on Genesee Street, and his sponsorship of a new home ownership program for our neighborhoods have all spurred positive economic change on the Westside.

Community connections with the University can stimulate public improvements, create jobs and improve demand for our housing.

But even more importantly, these connections serve as an encouragement to our many residents who work long and hard to make our neighborhoods prosper.

It is the students at UR who can make the greatest difference. I applaud the efforts of the Residential Life staff and its Director Laurel Contomanolis for finding ways to connect the Riverview students with our residents and for developing unique ways for us to get to know each other. Tutoring programs, ice cream socials and community/student dinners help us all come together to create positive change.

Since Riverview opened, the University and the Westside communities have become true neighbors.

Adam C. McFadden
Rochester City Councilmember
South District

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