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The Corn Hill Charrette

The “Vision Plan” for the Corn Hill Neighborhood

A community-based “Vision Plan” for the Corn Hill Neighborhood was prepared by the RRCDC, in collaboration with the Corn Hill Neighborhood Charrette Steering Committee, in order to provide written and visual urban design plans that reflect the goals and ideas of community members for revitalization and enhancement of their neighborhood, the commercial district and the underdeveloped and underutilized areas surrounding the district, including the riverfront.

This Vision Plan incorporates ideas suggested by community members via community dialogue and the Corn Hill Neighborhood Community Design Charrette, held on September 24, 2011.

There is strong community support for the enhancement of the public realm and the creation of a well-connected pedestrian-friendly community.

The community review was broken into six focus group: Perimeter/Gateways/Corridors, Historic Area North, Historic Area South, River Corridor, Upper Triangle (commercial and residential area of the northeast), and the Edge (structures on the perimeter).

Read the Vision Plan

Corn Hill Community Driven Guiding Principles

The primary recommendations in the plan are based on community driven Guiding Principles

  1. Attract People to Visit and Live in Corn Hill;
  2. Foster Standards for Property Development, Improvement and Maintenance;
  3. Expand Greenspace and art elements throughout the neighborhood;
  4. Enhance the Pedestrian Experience
  5. Celebrate Diversity and Nurture inclusion
  6. Economy Serving Community; Community Supporting Economy
  7. Unlock neighborhood connections;
  8. Protect and Utilize the River;
  9. Preserve and Promote our Natural and Historic Treasures.

Each focus area has unique and detailed suggestions.

The following are overall highlights:

  • ENHANCE GATEWAYS – signage, art, landscape as an invitation to a neighborhood
  • ENHANCE INFRASTRUCTURE – bump outs, narrow some streets, consistent lighting
  • ENHANCE AND EXPAND GREENSPACE – upgrading existing areas, dog park, memory garden
  • INCREASE PUBLIC ART – functional art: benches, bus stops and art in parks, walkway, river way
  • DEVELOP THE RIVERWALK – pathways, lighting, art, entertainment and recreation opportunities
  • INCREASE ACCESS TO RIVER – pedestrian timed lighting, walkway over Exchange, view pods over water
  • COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT – repurpose apartments, boutique overlay, and diversity in services.
  • IMPROVE CORRIDORS – bump outs, narrow some streets, roundabout, pedestrian signals
  • CALM TRAFFIC–   narrow some streets, pedestrian signals, marked crosswalks, stop signs
  • GREEN THE STREET – increase tree lawn, add trees and scrubs, foliage as barriers
  • MAINTAIN PROPERTY – set standards community standards, educate for responsible ownership
  • ENCOURAGE CREATIVE PARKING – shields for lots, shared parking, use of civic parking for nights.

What is a Charrette?

Corn Hill Charrette A Charrette is an intensive participatory planning process that brings together a variety of community stakeholders – homeowners, absentee landlords, businesses, city and county representatives, developers, churches, group homes, etc. to develop and share ideas about our community. It is an interactive and dynamic exercise in guided brainstorming to create a community consensus on a vision for the future. Outcomes of the process will not only be a vision but creation of tangible steps toward achieving this vision for our public realm.

Why do a Charrette?

  • Engage and empower the greater Corn Hill Community. Bring together all elements –
    • renters(the largest sub-group),
    • churches (the largest property owners),
    • homeowners (resident and absentee),
    • developers,
    • property owner groups,
    • Rochester Housing Authority,
    • multiple rental property owners,
    • The City – community development, zoning, transportation, forestry and environmental services.
  • Facilitate a process to bring key people together for community improvement.
  • Ensure that critical issues are identified and a process is put in place for a proactive rather than a reactive approach to change. These issues may include Building, Zoning, Transportation, Forestry, Riverfront, etc.
  • Renew a spark of community pride and investment in the neighborhood rather than just an investment in property for income.
  • Celebrate our history and the story of our area so that there is renewed understanding of preservation.
  • Increase communication between and among neighborhood members and the larger community – thus opening the door to all residents for inclusion and involvement.
  • Use the vision to leverage our resources for additional resources – grants, etc. and to encourage homeowners to invest in properties, bringing the whole to a new level of excellence.
  • Recently, there seems to have been a lack of notification from the City of Rochester about issues which may affect neighborhoods, i.e. permitting a new Group Home in Corn Hill, the Erie Harbor Development in the South Wedge.
  • There has also been an increase in absentee landlords with subsequent home deterioration and lack of visible upkeep.

Potential Outcomes

  • Momentum and community direction toward achieving neighborhood visions.
  • Production of physical drawings and plans for the creation of a public realm.
  • Design of a master plan for public presentation – particularly green space, riverfront, walkways and infrastructure.
  • An increase in civic engagement within the community as evident in new relationships, increased involvement, and the long term effect of home pride and upkeep.

Charrette Process


  • Determine if there is community interest.
  • April 2010 gathering at the Adam Street Rec Center brought out a cross section of 74 residents who expressed concern about the public realm, identifying five elements:
    1. Homes/Services
    2. Green Space
    3. Streets/walkways (lighting, signs, crosswalks)
    4. River Way
    5. Community Art
  • Preliminary scoping application and meeting to determine appropriateness of application and process.
  • Financial commitment from CHNA and finalize contract with RRCDC/CHNA for facilitation.

In Process

    • Selection of Steering Committee – 10-12 people who will meet twice a month for 6-8 months to develop materials and identify people for a successful Charrette.
    • Identify key stakeholders to assure inclusion and broad participation.
    • Development of focus groups to expand key areas and pre-Charrette involvement
    • Assemble information about community
    • Plan Charrette day
    • Publicize the event
    • Charrette Day ( goal 300 participants – September 24, 2011)
    • Follow-up reports.

Join the Charrette Discussion Group