ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In February, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $50 million in state funding would be invested in Rochester to redevelop properties along the Genesee River. The governor returned to Rochester Wednesday to announce some of the key details of those plans.
The development project, dubbed "ROC the Riverway," consists of projects to transform an underutilized waterfront — 12 of those projects include:
- $4.5 million to restore the historic Broad Street aqueduct as a year-round public venue.
- $1.5 million to create outdoor library rooms, cafe spaces and programming at the Rundell Library North Terrace.
- $6 million to renovate the Blue Cross Arena and better connect it to the riverfront.
- $5 million to renovate the Rochester Riverside Convention Center into a premier public venue and regional economic driver.
- $20 million to reinvigorate the civic waterfront assets between Main Street and Andres Street, including Charles Carroll Park and the Sister Cities Bridge.
- $1.3 million to create a riverfront promenade along a key redevelopment site at the historic Front Street.
- $1 million to build Rochester's first outdoor skate park beneath the Douglass-Anthony Bridge.
- $2 million to renovate the Genesee Gateway Park and turn it into a vibrant urban waterfront for residents and visitors.
- $250,000 to bring Corn Hill Navigation boat tours back to Rochester.
- $4 million to make structural repairs on the Pont de Rennes bridge by the Genesee Brewhouse.
- $500,000 to preserve the running track bridge to become a pedestrian amenity that connects Rochester's northern neighborhoods.
- $1 million to improve High Falls Terrace Park and the Brewery line Trail.
All these projects will be fully connected by the Genesee Riverway Trail downtown.
"The greatest asset you can have is to be on the waterfront," Cuomo said.
Mayor Lovely Warren agreed, adding that the first components of the ROC the Riverway project will "be something our children can be proud of."
According to Cuomo, the goal of showcasing the river would lead to more jobs, housing, restaurants and other businesses in downtown. Cuomo pointed out the success of other cities, like Buffalo, Baltimore and Chicago, which have recently redeveloped their waterfront properties, helping their economies.
Organizers of Wednesday's event said downtown businesses are having trouble filling job openings due to a lower unemployment rate. They're gearing their future plans behind the needs, wants and likes of the millennial generation, an idea that's being embraced by college graduates.
"I think it's good," said Jessica Masisak. "I mean, the younger generations are always going to come and they're gonna be the ones that are spending money."
"This area has a lot of potential, it seems," said Carson Kelley of Geneseo. "I think that it would nothing but help the cause and get a lot of young people to the city and get the jobs going here. I'd be interested."