Rochester mayor vetoes city council plan to maintain Legends Bar & Grill

(ABC 6 News) – Rochester’s mayor is exercising her veto power and overriding the city council’s decision to keep the controversial Legends Bar and Grill standing. The City of Rochester has been working to develop this plot of land since 2013. Now, the mayor and the city council disagree on whether or not this specific building should be a part of that re-development process, or if it should be completely torn down.

The city council voted to maintain Legends Bar and Grill earlier this month but refused to grant it landmark status. Mayor Kim Norton vetoed that decision Wednesday – arguing the building should be demolished.

"That was the intent of the city when they purchased it. And in fact the old city council and even the current city council did vote for demolition just a few months ago," Norton said.

Citing previous city council plans from 2013 where the city planned to buy the property just to demolish it. The goal was to build something bigger or better for the area. Norton believes if the council doesn’t follow through, people will lose trust in local government.

"It causes confusion and a lack of trust in government that they’ll do what they say they’re going to do," she said.

However, council members argue they’re a new city council with new ideas for the city. Councilmember Kelly Kirkpatrick believes her constituents are interested in preserving this building and the city’s history.

"Preserving a piece of our history is really important. That’s where our stories come from," Kirkpatrick said.

She also says the council is interested in preserving only parts of the building. Contractors could create something new, on top of the old façade.

"That beautiful old brickwork or that dentation at the top of the red owl building can be preserved. New architecture is not made like that," she said.

Norton argues that maintaining the building wastes city tax dollars. However, there is still a chance the building could stick around. The city council needs five votes to override the mayor’s veto.