Economic Development Conference in Savannah, GA (Feb. 5)

I am in Savannah, GA for a 2 day economic development conference.  As is always the case I will update you on happenings hear and as a point of principle I publish all expense forms. Any thoughts of escaping bad weather were shot down though.  Yesterday evening was my only free time and it was cloudy, rainy, and windy.  What a beautiful city.  We could learn alot about historic preservation and walkable, sustainable neighborhoods from Savannah.  Also even in the summer heat of the South, Savannah is very walkable and climate controlled in the summer because of their world class urban forest. Savannah takes tree planting very seriously and the results are some great parks and streets with trees older than any of the residents.

I am staying and spending almost all of my time in the historic district.  This area is about 2 square miles in size and home to many beautiful historic properties and vibrant businesses.  Savannah is successful because they have not decided to lower their downtown standards to compete.  Rather they force high standards and people choose to live, work, play, and visit there.  This is what we should do throughout Rochester. The second picture is what our urban neighborhoods could be like if we insist on high standards.  Downtown Savannah is walkable, bike friendly, dense, attractive, and successful.

The last 2 pictures are examples of what new hotels in Savannah look like.  Compare this to the future Holiday Inn being built by Rick Penz that will feature largely a 40 ft. blank wall welcoming people to Rochester.  If this city can say “no” to low development standards we can too.

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