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Roc The Riverway kicks off with a focus on 13 projects

Caitlin Whyte

The first phase of Roc the Riverway kicked off Wednesday with a breakdown of the first 13 projects getting state funding.

Mayor Lovely Warren was joined by Governor Andrew Cuomo to unveil phase one of the program. She said this project will bring the community together around the power of the Genesee.

Sponsor Message

"To rebuild, to reinvest and to reignite our river way. So that our child, my children, will say that when help came, we accepted. When we needed to Roc The Riverway, we did."

The state has committed $50 million to the first phase of the initiative that will contribute funds to just over a dozen projects from the south wedge to high falls, all along the river.  The state money will just be the start of funding for many of the projects, which will then need other investment to be completed.

They include:

Aqueduct Re-Imagined ($4.5 million) - This project will create a commitment to remove the Broad Street bridge top, with funding dedicated to complete final design, including of new riverway segments on both sides of the Aqueduct from Court Street to Main Street.

Rundel Library North Terrace ($1.5 million) - The North Terrace has been closed due to structural issues and has created a public safety issue. Funding will make necessary repairs to reopen the North Terrace for outdoor library rooms, café spaces and programming opportunities.

Blue Cross Arena ($6 million) - This funding will create an exterior river terrace, opening up views to the river from within the arena, along with other major renovations to the arena's dated infrastructure. Today marks the first day that the arena is under the management of Pegula Sports and Entertainment, which recently entered into a temporary agreement with the City of Rochester to operate the venue.

Convention Center ($5 million) - Funding will continue needed renovations to attract more competitive convention and other business, by building upon past renovations to the escalator system and river terrace with a renewed focus on connecting the facility to the riverfront.

Riverway Main to Andrews ($20 million) - Funding will renovate Charles Carroll Park, Crossroads Garage, Crossroads Park and the Sister Cities Pedestrian Bridge, significantly enhancing connectivity for non-motorized modes of transportation on both sides of the river from Main Street to Andrews Street.

Front Street Promenade ($1.25 million) - Funding will be used to build a promenade along the river from Andrews Street to the Inner Loop. This, combined with a proposed mixed use development on Front Street, will build upon existing and future investments in the area.

ROC City Skate Park ($1 million) - A new public skate park will be built under the I-490 Douglass-Anthony Bridge with direct access to the Riverway Trail and adjoining the Downtown and South Wedge neighborhoods. The City of Rochester also just received word that it has been awarded a "Built to Play" Grant for $250,000  for the project from the Tony Hawk Foundation.

Genesee Gateway Park ($2 million) - Funding will improve the existing Genesee Riverway Trail by expanding park river access to the South Wedge neighborhood, building upon existing development projects along Mt. Hope Avenue and the South Wedge.

Corn Hill Navigation ($250,000) - Corn Hill Navigation operates tour boats on sections of the Erie Canal. Funds will provide additional resources for a new boat to generate activity in the South River area.

High Falls Terrace Park / Brewery Line Trail ($1 million) - One of the City's oldest parks, High Falls Terrace Park has not been used to its maximum capacity. Funds will create a new trail, the Brewery Trail Line, which will be located along the park and near the Genesee Brewery, connecting and further serving the area. Funds will also be used to upgrade the existing park and trails, creating access to and views of High Falls.

Pont de Rennes Bridge ($4 million) - Funding will make needed structural repairs to the existing bridge, funding design and construction of improvements to the bridge.

Running Track Bridge ($500,000) - The Running Track Bridge is a former rail bridge that is currently abandoned. Funding will modernize the bridge for future phases to link pedestrian access between neighborhoods including El Camino, Edgerton and High Falls.

Downtown/Riverfront Management Entity ($3 million) - The panel is also recommending the creation of a management entity, which is critical for the long-term success, sustainability and programming. Funding would be used to study what kind of management entity would work best for Rochester, with primary responsibilities to include:

•           Programming

•           Maintenance

•           Marketing

•           Public art, amenities

•           Infrastructure

•           Development for the initiative

Many referenced Canalside in Buffalo during the presentation, which has brought music, recreation and community space to the waterfront in that city.

Cuomo said it’s a big effort to take on, in a sense you’re completely turning a city around.

"Because the rivers were the backdoor to the cities, right? That’s where the goods came in and the factories were located. And you have to turn that city around so the city becomes the front door. And that’s not the entry way and that’s the recreation way and that’s where the restaurants are located, etc."

He touched on a few other revitalization projects happening around town and how they all work together.

"There’s a catalytic effect. So Roc The Riverway works with the Strong Museum, works with the new airport, works with the new train station and one builds on the other. And that energy comes together. And that’s what you’re feeling in Rochester."

A total of 28 projects have been laid out in the Roc The Riverway plan.