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Rochester Residents Take Part in Coffee With the Mayor

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Mayor Caroline McCarley provided residents with key updates about the city of Rochester, and took part in a discussion about their individual feedback at the informal Coffee With the Mayor event late last week.

On Thursday, Dec. 13, residents and city employees joined the mayor at the Governor’s Inn for a wide-ranging discussion about what the city accomplished in 2018, as well as what they’d like to see city leaders prioritize in 2019.

The mayor praised newly-named City Manager Blaine Cox for his early work transitioning into his role following the retirement of his predecessor, Dan Fitzpatrick, and highlighted several other key developments. Among them were the re-paving of streets downtown, improved sidewalks, expanded bike lanes and the installation of new way finding signage in the business district.

The conversation was meant to give residents an opportunity to hear about the progress their city is making, and also provide critical feedback to guide the city’s future.

“I like to hear from people because it’s really helpful to know what the community is thinking,” Mayor McCarley said. “It’s on us to talk about our community, and I couldn’t be happier to have been mayor for the last three years, and I look forward to doing it for one more year.”

McCarley also noted the difficult decision to raise the city’s tax cap this year, which was done largely to ensure adequate funding of the city’s schools.

“It’s not an easy decision and it’s not one anyone was looking forward to having to make,” she said. “But, if you’re not committed to public education then, to me, your commitments are misplaced.”

McCarley said that a delegation from Rochester will be going to the state capitol soon to advocate for continued state support of the ongoing renovation at the high school’s Creteau Technology Center, and indicated that she’d ask the city council next month to identify its top three priorities for the year to come.

For her part, the mayor said she hopes to one day see a covered market take hold in the Hoffman building and is looking forward to the responses to the recently-issued request for proposals for the Scenic Theater and Salinger Block on North Main Street. She also hopes that the Rochester Fair complex will become a stronger asset for the community.

Residents at the event expressed praise for the improvements downtown, and some suggested they’d like to see improvements like better lighting at some of the crosswalks in the city. To conclude the event, attendees provided feedback about projects that they believed might improve the Riverwalk.

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