A manager for the new EcoDistrict

Greentopia is taking another step toward creating an ecodistrict in Rochester by moving ahead on hiring a manager for what will become the Rochesterville EcoDistrict. Following advertisements for the manager position, 50 people from around the country applied earlier this summer and the district’s critical team has narrowed the selection to eight finalists. A decision is expected in September and Greentopia hopes to have the person start work in early October.

The district’s name reflects a historic part of Rochester included in the district, which also encompasses part of Rochester’s downtown, the High Falls area, Frontier Field, Kodak Tower, the new Monroe Community College Campus, and Genesee Brewery.

The manager’s job will be to plan and organize the first such district in New York State, mostly by bringing together groups of stakeholders. Ecodistricts – Portland, OR, has several — are designated and planned in a grassroots manner to help a neighborhood achieve a better living environment. Potential benefits could be incentives and policies that help create a district-wide composting system or a bulk discounts for solar power. The district meshes nicely with Greentopia’s efforts to create the GardenAerial surrounding the High Falls.

“This will be the only ecodistrict in the US that has this kind of situation: the only one with a falls in it,” said Greentopia co-founder Lewis Stess.

Stess said businesses or residents often ask if the district will impose additional taxes or require participation. The short answer: no. A longer answer might include that grassroots discussions would be expected to consider new initiatives by consensus in the district. But Stess says: “Nobody’s making anybody do anything.”

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