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Cornerstone Park


A small, forgotten park in downtown Rochester is about to get much-needed upgrades. 

The city put out a Request for Proposals to revamp Cornerstone Park. It opened in 1977 on the corner of Broad and Stone. Rochester Telephone was supposed to maintain the park.

Cornerstone ParkDuring a recent visit, I tripped on the uneven pavement. There are a lot of weeds. The water fountain is barely recognizable. The RFP says:

The park has deteriorated over the past 30 years. The fountain has not functioned in over a decade, the timber seating walls have rotted, the pavement is unstable, and the plantings are in decline. Rochester Telephone, now Frontier Communications, is no longer involved in park maintenance. At present the park is maintained by City of Rochester Downtown Special Services personnel in conjunction with volunteers from the Rochester Downtown Host Lions Club.

The project is expected to cost $725,000, funded in part through a state grant.


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8 Responses to Park Makeover

  1. July 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm Larry Wirth responds:

    This post led me to your entry about Schiller and Anderson Parks, and their destruction. What went wrong in the 60’s to convince community planners that “urban” had to be renewed? So much was lost.

  2. Get rid of the water, make a spot for a food truck or cart. Provides seating and something easily cleanable.

  3. I would like to see a building there

  4. There are many small parks in Rochester that are nice places to relax, have lunch, read a book, etc.

    Unfortunately, fewer and fewer people are using them. That’s the result of the exodus from downtown to the burbs. Many of those parks used to be filled with workers taking breaks or shoppers resting for a bit. Now, however, the big stores are gone and the offices are moving to the burbs and so the parks aren’t used as much.

    To spend $750,000 for a park that is seldom used seems expensive. Is that the best use of that money?

    I like the downtown parks and I use them. But when there is only so much money available, we must look at the best use of the money.

    Buying food in bulk, I’m guessing a nutritious meal could be made for $7.50 which means that 100,000 lunches for underfed children could be purchased instead.

    Is a park worth more? Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on everyone’s priorities in life. There will always be disagreements on the best use of the limited public funds.

    It would be nice to get people to `Adopt a Park’ like they adopt a section of highway. Individuals, groups, businesses can all sign up to care for a park in their area. Perhaps a company (like the former Rochester Telephone) would provide some funding.

    When people care for something there is a sense of ownership and pride. Regular upkeep from private people who use it would reduce the amount of municipal dollars needed and perhaps some of these parks would see more use.

    What is needed, is more people using them and that means more people downtown. As someone who likes downtown. I always try to promote events like JazzFest, Red Wing Games, the Busker Competition, etc. as well as the many new restaurants to those who come from the burbs and have never SEEN downtown. Once they see it and experience it they have a whole new perspective. The trick is to get them to come down.

    For those who use and enjoy downtown, bring a friend.

    • Go downtown to do what exactly? There’s no retail and nobody is going to pay for parking to go to a restaurant.

      As far as the park goes, why are they spending so much money on a park that looks to be under utilized?

  5. July 9, 2013 at 1:10 pm bill responds:

    I like the food truck idea, charge a fee to cover maintenance of the park.

  6. I saw many of the food trucks at JazzFest and I think they are GREAT for downtown!!

  7. September 8, 2013 at 9:31 pm brian hannold responds:

    I used to enjoy the Cornerstone Park very much when I worked downtown. It is still viable as it is near the library, Blue Cross and other offices in the area. I am glad to see the little park getting some attention.
    It is one of the hidden little gems around the city.

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