Port of Rochester: want money in Rochester? Write a book report.

The City of Rochester is commissioning a study to see if the Port of Rochester can be used as a cruise ship destination. It’s not the Fast Ferry. It’s yet another study. Is that really better?

Whose up for a trip to that Italian-themed Midtown Mall? Or maybe a float down the reflooded State St? Or maybe catch a cruise ship up in the Historical Fast Ferry District.. I’m sorry, the Port of Rochester? Well, two out of three of those projects never even got a single shovel-full of dirt moved and the third will not, either.

I’m sorry if I seem cynical and angry. But fuck everybody. Because if the buffoonery of projects we have taken on in the past are cringe-worthy, they are nothing compared to the complete dipshittery of the things we never did. But we did “study” them.

Where does that money go, exactly? When we spend $100,000 on a study – as Steve Orr notes, mostly on the Army Corps of Engineers’ dime in this case – who gets it? Because that money doesn’t just vapourize: someone’s getting paid every single time. Someone please give me some names. And then cross-reference those with the names of our esteemed political class’ list of campaign donors.

Of course we know some of that money goes to actual City employees doing studies. But my guess is that the lion’s share of the money goes to the people and businesses with the expertise to do the job.. that’s never actually going to get done. Just “studied.”

Without any commitment from anybody; without any input from local residents; without so much as a single shovel of dirt moved from one place to another, somebody’s getting paid. Nice work, if you can get it: writing book reports for do-nothing city government.

At least two journalists in town for whom I have great respect – Steve Orr and Rachel Barnhart – seem to be focused on the fact that this “isn’t the Fast Ferry.” They think the ire they’re reading is missing the point. I respectfully submit that it is they who are missing the point. Entirely.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.

1 reply on “Port of Rochester: want money in Rochester? Write a book report.”

Perhaps it needs to be pointed out that the line from Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”, is not referring to the bus line that hauled people to the ball park, nor was it referring to the parking lot where vehicles coming to the games could park. It was referring of course to the ball park itself. Rather than focusing on studies to determine feasibility of moving people into and out of the city, maybe there ought to be some more effort into developing stuff that people want to see within Rochester. What I mean by that is…not along the lines of the George Eastman House or the brewery or any museums or anything related to art or culture. People don’t flock to places like Rochester in droves regardless how many ships can tie off at ‘The Port’. Have a look at your Facebook feed and recalibrate your expectations about the depth at which people are swimming these days. Therein lies the problem. What is there for a boatload of shallow, narcissistic, fast walleted consumers to do in Rochester? Not enough that we should expect someone to pay to come here. Don’t like how that sounds? Want to discuss all of the culturally rich things to do in Rochester? That’s a different conversation, because generally speaking, interesting people are interested in rich cultural experiences. Those are not the people who are not coming to Rochester because a cruise ship can’t dock here. Not until we have a long list of things, in front of which people will feel compelled to take selfies, should there be any discussion of how we can better handle the flow of people into and out of Rochester, let alone people getting paid to ‘look into it’. As for all the interesting stuff to do in Rochester? The interesting people will find it, boat or no boat.

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