Saturday 4 February 2023
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Barnhart Criticizes City for Hosting Private July 4 Celebration; Sheppard Calls for Transparency Regarding Parcel 5

By Staff –


L to R: County Legislator James Sheppard, Mayor Lovely Warren, and Rachel Barnhart participate in a mayoral debate in June.

L to R: Monroe County Legislator James Sheppard, Mayor Lovely Warren, and Rachel Barnhart participate in a mayoral debate in June.

Former WROC-TV news anchor and current mayoral candidate Rachel Barnhart has released a statement condemning incumbent Mayor Lovely Warren’s sponsorship of a July 4 celebration held at the Rochester Convention Center on Tuesday.

“Who paid for this party? How much did this cost?” Barnhart stated. “If the city paid it’s a gross misuse of tax dollars to hold a VIP event for city officials at a public function.”

According to the Democrat and Chronicle, a city spokesperson responded to Barnhart’s charges by saying the convention center merely provided sandwiches and ice cream to Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra musicians who’d performed earlier that evening, along with their families.

However, the city owns the convention center, and is therefore responsible for holding the private party at a “taxpayer-funded venue,” Barnhart said.

Visit to view Barnhart’s full statement regarding the matter.

In addition, Monroe County Legislator and Democratic candidate for mayor James Sheppard also criticized the city’s recent decision to develop a 3000-seat performing arts center in the vacant Parcel 5 location at Midtown.

Sheppard questioned whether the city had enough funding to fully pay for the $130 million project, which currently has a commitment of $25 million from local businessman Tom Golisano.

“We still don’t know what this project is, how it will be funded, or what its impact on the city will be,” he stated. “There have been no detailed plans released, no commitment on funding beyond Mr. Golisano’s generous pledge, and no opportunity for public comment. This is no way to decide the future of the crown jewel of downtown.”

Sheppard has also called for the city to be more transparent regarding the project.

The city responded by saying the project will create over 700 jobs for local residents, and that the development will help continue the “rebirth” of downtown.

Visit to view Sheppard’s full statement regarding Parcel 5.

Both Sheppard and Barnhart are slated to challenge Mayor Warren during a primary race in September.

Green Party candidate Alex White, Republican Candidate Tony Micciche, and Independent candidate Lori Thomas are also candidates for mayor.

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