by LAWSON ROBINSON
The Rochester City Council meeting on October 23 started promptly at 7 p.m. Mayor Daldin was quick to start the meeting so that they could take a picture with the recipients of the Sunrise Pinnacle Community Builders Award.
Kristi Trevarrow of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) then stepped forward to present the hours agreed upon for the new sound system that will play throughout Downtown Rochester. The downtown sound system was approved in spring and was met with strong resistance from some members of the community. Many residents worried about the volume and thought the system would be a nuisance.
Trevarrow presented the deed that was approved the night before, after what Mayor Daldin referred to as a “serious debate.”
“The deed is proposing Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., with music on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.,” Trevarrow said. She noted that music will be played in a special time slot from 5 – 8 p.m. on Sundays.
“Looking at satellite radio options, we had to choose between Pandora and Sirius and I selected Pandora because it had a lower cost but featured more channels. It is $26 a month and I got the first month free with a coupon. We are looking to play an easy listening channel that includes Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, and Jason Mraz. We would then alternate during the Holiday season and then we would play the classic Christmas channel.”
Council member Giovanelli started off by joking about their meeting the previous night to discuss the deed. “We had to fight off playing Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, Anthrax, and Pantera,” he chuckled along with a few members of city council. “It was a serious debate and the big issue seemed to be longer hours. I would rather know about any issues regarding the holiday hours now. The one thing I have learned is that no good deed goes unpunished so I am sure something will go wrong. This is our compromise, however, and the music is mellow. So hopefully no one will be offended by Michael Buble, I kind of am but for different reasons.”
Council member Ray had a simple question regarding the testing and technicalities of the system’s volume, and Trevarrow noted that she spent time with the engineers testing the volume. “We checked to make sure all the systems were working,” Trevarrow said. “Once we set a volume that is comfortable and is only heard on Main Street, the volume will stay right there. It is like one ring to rule them all, but one volume to rule them all.”
Council member Peterson seemed concerned for the businesses in the area during the Holiday season. She believes that the hours on Sunday should be much earlier during Christmas time so that business owners in the area can have Christmas music playing while people shop. Her goal is to make sure that business owners are accommodated for what they want.
Mayor Pro-Tem Kim Russell, however, was not amused by this idea. “As you all know I did not vote for this but I must go forward with you. If there is a problem, let’s just say it gets whacked out and we have crazy stuff on the speakers, how is that controlled and for the businesses that have music already, how is this going to work for them?”
“PD (police department) will have the ability to change the volume and to fix the issues. It is a wireless system so they made sure to go through and to put it on a channel where it is unlikely for it to be hacked. There is one switch so if there is an issue we can go in and turn it off,” Trevarrow responded. “The only issue is if the power goes out but there is a timer that is plugged in so it will not run out of batteries. We have not used the system so we do not know of all the tricks here but I will be here for the most part. A few businesses have their own speakers and we are not going to ask them to stop using them.”
“So just to back up, let’s say we have lost power for five hours, if it is just plugged in then how is it going to work?” Russell asked Trevarrow.
“If we have a power outage, we will have a problem with the light show so I will be here to deal with this.”
Giovanelli then made a motion to approve the recommended times. “We ask that any issues that come up are brought to city council so we can take care of them.”
The vote was taken and all but Russell voted in favor.