Norman Jones says that filling in the entire Inner Loop is a long time coming. Jones is a long time city employee and says he was there for the first charette on the project 20 years ago. Now, as the head of the city of Rochester’s Department of Environmental Services, he’ll have a say in what happens next to the inner loop.
“What we’re doing through an RFP process is we’re soliciting the best ideas from all the different firms around, local, some may be regional, some maybe national, to look at what types of concepts, what types of things can happen here,” said Jones.
There is no timeline for the north section of the Inner Loop to be filled in, since this part of the loop is three times larger than phase one which involved filling in the east side of the highway. Developers are still slowly building on those lots.
Jones says that filling in Inner Loop East cost about $25 million. He estimates that the for filling in the north side could be four times as high once inflation is accounted for.
“You could be upwards of $100 million in this project. Of course we would look at alternative funding sources to make this a reality. That would be state or federal types of resources,” said Jones.
Jones and other city officials have discussed development possibilities internally but says he doesn’t want the proposals to be swayed by their opinions. He says the focus should be on reconnecting downtown to its surrounding neighborhoods-- no matter the price.
The city is taking proposals from engineering firms for the proposed project. They are holding a pre-proposal meeting next Tuesday. The deadline for submissions is August 16th.