Nick Campion: Design the Chateau for families
When the Chateau Theatre closed in 1983, Rochester’s population was practically half what it is today. That means many of us have known it only as a striking and attractive bookstore. That bookstore was a thoughtful and pragmatic reuse that kept a unique and historic building active. It is with that same pragmatism that we should approach our options for reuse today. We should focus on what use best serves our entire community now and will continue to serve future generations.
We should give the Chateau Theatre new life not by recreating the past but by selecting a use that speaks to the future, something that gives families and children something engaging downtown.
Of all its qualities, Rochester’s best is that it is a premier city in which to raise a family. Naturally, we want places that engage our entire family. We love our downtown, but we also know that it lacks a family focus. We must be intentional with the Chateau investment and use to make families feel included downtown.
Downtown needs balance. The work weeks hum as Mayo and other downtown businesses keep people moving. The evenings and weekends produce an atmosphere charitably described as “subdued.” We have a fantastic opportunity to encourage families to enjoy these spaces when they have otherwise sat dormant. Focusing the Chateau reuse on families produces numerous winners. It activates a part of the downtown during times when it needs it most and it gives residents a family-friendly downtown activity.
Make the Chateau for families. Make the Chateau an indispensible asset to our whole community. Make the appeal of the Chateau last for future generations.
Nick Campion represents Ward 3 on the Rochester City Council.