Why Parcel 5?


Parcel 5 occupies a lot that serves as a crossroads for many pedestrians and cyclists. People pass by and through the lot on their way to work, to meet friends, or to get home. UrbanScale.com named “location” as one of five features of great public spaces.

“If a city decides to invest in a new park at the edge of town with the goal creating a vibrant public space, the results will be disappointing. The surroundings of the park matter more than the park itself if your goal is to enhance your community’s urban vitality (like we covered in Feature #2). For this reason, many of the truly great public spaces in the U.S. are located on prime real estate, often in the center of a large metro area.

Some good examples of vibrant public spaces that occupy important locations include: New York’s Central Park, Bryant Park, and Grand Central Terminal, Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square, and Chicago’s Millennium Park.”


Rochester is steadily welcoming residents back to the city center. The population is expected to increase from 7,000 to 10,000 by 20211. With so many new residents, it’s important to reflect on what makes a healthy, vibrant neighborhood.

A city cannot survive if occupied by empty nesters alone. Millennials are getting older and starting families, they want to raise those families in a city with amenities that support their lifestyle. This means walkable access to everyday retail like grocery stores and pharmacies, access to parks, playgrounds, and shared public spaces. Demographic trends indicate that if these basic amenities are not met, millennials will follow their parents’ lead and relocate to the suburbs.


The gravel lot at Parcel 5 has been enjoyed by thousands of Rochesterians and visitors as a multi-use public space over the last few years, without any landscaping or design. From concerts at the Xerox International Jazz Festival and Fringe Festivals to the City of Rochester’s own “Little Kids, Big Rigs” and the ROC Women’s Music Fest, the space has proven to be useful even in its current desolate, un-landscaped state.