PeaceWorks Rochester
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Public Access

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6:00pm [6:00pm] Seeking Public Comments on PLEX Brownfield Clean-Up
Vacuum Oil Refinery, which operated in Rochester in the Plymouth-Exchange area (PLEX) from 1866-1935, left a toxic mess that has lingered in Rochester for decades. The clean-up proposals are on the table, and there is a comment period going on until January 30th. It is imperative that the city hear from as many residents as possible to ensure that this clean-up is done fully, safely, and responsibly, and that the PLEX community who has contended with this area for decades be able to benefit from the improvements to come. For more information on the history of this issue, please see this article from the Democrat and Chronicle. ( ) There is an upcoming meeting to discuss and write comments with the PLEX Neighborhood Association: Location: Carlson Commons, 70 Coretta Scott Crossing, Rochester, NY 14608 Date: Thursday, January 11th Time: 6pm If you cannot attend this meeting, please note the following: Please submit comments in writing (email or mail) no later than 5pm on January 30, to: Dorraine Kirkmire, Office of Planning City Hall, Rm 223B Rochester, NY 14614 (585)428-6698 Some topics to comment on: Request for a Level 1 Clean-Up/Responsible Removal Initially, there was going to be a level 1 clean-up, which means complete removal of the waste. This is the best for the community. Both PLEX and the developer (DHD Developers) wanted this level. DHD later changed decided they wanted to reduce it to a Level 4 clean-up, which is the lowest level, and which means they would just "cap" it, and let it sit there. There can be no first floor residences on this type of land, and no public use buildings, like schools or centers. There are potential concerns about leakage into groundwater or the river, etc. This is definitely NOT a responsible way of handling this. The idea of vermiculture, which is the environmentally-friendly use of microorganisms to break down toxic material over a period of time, has been discussed, but it has been on the periphery. Whether it's done on site or at a removal site, this could be an important option to emphasize. Responsible disposal of the waste is also an important factor. Promoting PLEX Park Amongst all of the property that is going to be developed, PLEX is asking for a relatively small area to have a park. A brownfield site is required to have some recreational space. In a community with children around, as well as a senior apartment building right next to the area, PLEX wants to use this space to have a playground, spray park, raised gardens, nice walkways, and an outside amphitheater, where movies could be played, etc. Conveniently, it is right across the street from the community center as well. The park as described was designed by PLEX community members. This park is NOT guaranteed. Others have ideas for recreational space as well, but the desires of the PLEX neighbors who have lived with this brownfield, in some cases for generations, should be foremost. The PLEX community could benefit greatly from support voiced by their fellow city residents. Community Access Proposed building projects may be inclusive of community or exclusive. With development coming on that side of the river, there should be community access to it, with walkways, perhaps bike paths, maybe a place for people to bring a kayak or canoe, or just to come enjoy the view. It could have a "park" feel to it, and should not be restricted by private property. This development is going to have a lot of effect on the area, with traffic and such. The community shouldn't be shut out. Maintain the Flood Wall There is a flood wall along the Genesee River. Some proposals want to lower it; some want to rebuild it; some want to have a berm. PLEX would like to keep the wall high for safety reasons, but perhaps think of ways to still be able to enjoy the view (gates, berm, etc.). But flood protection is hugely important. Peter Debes of the Sierra Club explained that between an old damn in Letchworth and climate change, we may really need this wall. Thank you so much for your time and efforts. Again, comments are to be submitted: in writing (email or mail), no later than 5pm on January 30, to: Dorraine Kirkmire, Office of Planning City Hall, Rm 223B Rochester, NY 14614 (585)428-6698 Mothers Out Front, Rochester NY