Bello, Dinolfo, Warren talk economic growth in Rochester

Dec 10, 2019

Local leaders talk about the past and future of economic development.
Credit James Brown / WXXI

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and County Executive-elect Adam Bello were among the speakers at an event Tuesday discussing efforts to grow Rochester’s economy Rochester. The event was part of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation and Rochester Rotary’s Economic Growth Series. 

During the luncheon, Dinolfo was honored for her efforts to grow the economy. She says she’s leaving Bello in a good position. Dinolfo says her administration's collaborative efforts with businesses and schools like Monroe Community College are just beginning to pay off. 

Dinolfo pointed to the LadderzUp program as a point of pride, saying it's becoming a model for other communities in the state. The program trains workers for existing job openings. 

“You don’t just leave with a certificate; you leave with a job with businesses that want to be in Monroe County,” said Dinolfo. 

Dinolfo said she’s proud of her accomplishments, pointing to investments in the zoo and airport as examples of the legacy of her administration. She leaves elected office in January after three terms as county clerk and one term as executive.

“This community is one worth fighting for,” said Dinolfo. “And that’s why I fought so hard for so many years on behalf the 750,000 people. My heart is with each and everyone of them and it's an honor to serve.” 

Bello thanked Dinolfo for her contributions but said the county should think bigger. Bello is 39 and says there has not been a comprehensive plan for Monroe County in his lifetime. And he says it’s time that changed. 

“If we’re going to spend over a billion dollars in a year, we have to have a plan. We have to have a road map to do that,” said Bello.

Bello said that developing a new master plan is a way for the incoming administration to invite collaboration among community stakeholders, including some who haven't had a seat at the table before.

He also plans on keeping a campaign promise by re-establishing a council of governments that will bring local leaders together regularly. 

“It involves all different levels of government rowing in the same direction because at the end of the day, we all have the same goals and the goals are to grow this economy, make it work for everybody and protect and keep people safe,” Bello said. 

Bello lauded Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren’s approach to downtown revitalization. He said that downtown was in the midst of a “remarkable transformation” that’s happening block by block. He’s said there’s still much to do including attracting investors, businesses and developers. He says he is looking forward to working Warren on it in the years to come. 

Warren told the crowd that one of the keys for her administration to attract investment in Rochester is changing the city’s approach. 

“We stopped managing our city for decline. And we’re building a city for growth,” said Warren. 

Warren said that mindset helped the city bring in new companies like Panasonic and start big projects like the Inner Loop fill-in and Roc the Riverway. And she’s looking forward to working with Bello. She said she has a list things Bello can do to help the city once he’s sworn in next year.