ROCHESTER — Downtown patrons will be able to enjoy some new sounds as they stroll along Main Street this fall.
The Rochester Downtown Development Authority recently received approval from the City Council to spend $80,000 on an outdoor sound system along Main Street, from University to Second.
DDA Executive Director Kristi Trevarrow said the DDA decided to pursue the idea after it kept popping up in various surveys as something residents and business owners want downtown.
“A sound system kept scoring very high, so that, combined with the interest for it during (downtown) visioning sessions, we thought maybe this would be the year that we go forward with it,” she said.
In a presentation to the council, DDA Vice Chairman Vito Pampalona said a sound system is conducive to a “classy, professional downtown area.”
“A sound system, and the proper music — which we will select ourselves — adds an ambiance, and actually, it has been proven that it improves people’s feelings, and maybe they spend more money, they go to restaurants, and so on and so forth,” he said.
Trevarrow said the sound system will not only add ambiance to the downtown district with carefully selected background music that’s free of advertising, but it will also allow the city to make announcements.
“If there is severe weather coming, or a lost child, we will actually be able to use the sound system to make an announcement, so it is also a safety feature for us, which I think is an awesome benefit,” she explained.
ISP Technologies in Waterford, which installed the sound system at Jimmy John’s Field in Utica, is currently building the waterproof sound system for downtown Rochester.
“We interviewed several companies to make sure that we not only got the best price, but that we got the best product. They are custom-making a system that will be just for us. They are attaching it to the light poles, and it is going to be in that same hunter green that is all downtown, so honestly, I think it is just going to all blend in,” Trevarrow said. “They are fabricating it right now, but I think we will probably see them in a few weeks.”
The DDA has also secured approval from the Michigan Department of Transportation to install the system, which Trevarrow said should happen in the next month or so.
“We went to MDOT to receive permitting, and they set all the guidelines for amplification to make sure that we are not interfering with the crosswalk signals and that it’s not going to be interfering with motorists,” she explained. “It’s going to be something very subtle.”
For more information, call the Rochester DDA at (248) 656-0060.