Rochester has made environmentally-conscious improvements throughout the
city while adhering to a modest budget, proving that it’s possible for
communities to ‘go green’ without breaking the bank. City Manager
Jaymes Vettraino explains that this movement is a balancing act,
especially in a time of shrinking revenues.
“We understand city council’s aversion to saying we’re going to spend
$50,000 to turn every light bulb a different way,” Vettraino said
Mayor Jeff Cuthbertson agrees with Vettraino. Green programs in
Rochester must be approached on a case-by-case basis with the exception
of the city’s curbside recycling program. While there is no ‘green
master plan,’ the mayor said that he feels the city has “accomplished a
fair deal in the last three years.”
The movement seems to have begun in the private sector. Vettraino
credits restaurateur Mike Plesz, owner of the Rochester Beer Co. and the
short-lived Mind Body Spirits, for getting the ball rolling. Both
restaurants were built in historic buildings. Mind Body Spirits had
geothermal wells and a greenhouse, used many reclaimed materials,
sourced its foods locally and organically and generated a lot of buzz.
“The greenest thing you can do is take an old building and reuse it,”
Vettraino said. “There got to be a feel in town.”
The whole story is available here.