Inner Loop

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg sparked some debate when he recently said, "There is racism physically built into some of our highways." Critics called it hyperbole, and mocked the statement for trying too hard to connect all problems to race. But historians have taken this opening to teach about the history that Buttigieg is referencing: redlining, highways destroying Black neighborhoods, inner loops, and more.

Our guests have their own stories to share: 

James Brown / WXXI News

A $12 million affordable housing development in downtown Rochester has just been completed.

Charlotte Square on the Loop is the first residential development as part of the city’s Inner Loop East Transformation project.

The new development has 50 affordable apartments. Officials say that most of the apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the 'area median income.'

Theresa Reda is living in one of the new apartments, and notes that she had some tough years, trying to find a place for herself and four daughters.

City of Rochester, CJS Architects

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has recommended that the nonprofit organization PathStone build on the last available part of the Inner Loop redevelopment near Monroe Avenue and Chestnut Street. The proposed building has its first tenant: Geva.   

The theater’s artistic director, Mark Cuddy, said they’re out of space at their current location and want to use 5,900 square feet of the building to expand.

“We’ll have year-round classes, year-round engagement, community events, it’s an opportunity for us for more participation,” said Cuddy.

James Brown WXXI

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. 

Trillium Health

Trillium Health, the Rochester-based organization that focuses on promoting health equity, has received a $20 million state grant to fund the construction of 20 apartments on a former Inner Loop site.

Trillium’s president and CEO, Andrea DeMeo, said the grant is the largest that the 8-year-old organization has ever received.

“We’re extremely excited,” DeMeo said. “We’re very grateful to the state of New York.”

It has been almost four years since the First Fill Ceremony for the Inner Loop. Significant portions of the Inner Loop East Project have been completed, and Rochester residents are now seeing at-grade, complete streets at the old sites. Along those sites are a number of new buildings, and there are plans for more residential and retail development.

This hour, we talk about development along the former Inner Loop and what it means for our community. Our guests discuss housing, transportation, parking, and how to create more connected neighborhoods. In studio:

  • Bret Garwood, chief operating officer for Home Leasing
  • Bill Price, landscape architect, urban planner with SWBR, and president of the board of directors for the Community Design Center Rochester

Tianna Manon/WXXI news

You don’t often see groundbreaking ceremonies led by children wearing hard hats, riding in on toy construction vehicles.

But that’s exactly how the Strong National Museum of Play broke ground Thursday on a 100,000 square foot expansion. That expansion will bring a new, larger atrium and entrance to the museum and include new exhibits like women in gaming, a ropes course, updated outdoor play area and parking garage.

Spectrum News

When Rochester City Council meets later this month, one of the items they will vote on is accepting money from the state to move ahead with a study that will look at the feasibility of filling in another part of the Inner Loop.

Mayor Lovely Warren is asking Council to move ahead with a study that would look at the possibility of taking out the remaining north portion of the Inner Loop, after the eastern part of the loop was filled in over the last few years.

Assemblyman David Gantt secured $1 million for the study.

The Strong Museum of Play has big plans for expansion; the museum has a vision for an entire neighborhood of play. 

The plan would include part of the old eastern third of the Inner Loop that has been filled in and is waiting for development. Mayor Lovely Warren has proposed the sale of the land for $2 million as part of the Inner Loop East redevelopment project. If The Strong's project moves forward, it would include an expanded museum, retail, a hotel, residential space, art at the street level, and a parking garage.

Our guests share their thoughts on the project:

  • Howard Decker, board member for the Community Design Center of Rochester
  • Craig Jensen, principal at CJS Architects

What is Rochester going to do with the new land created by filling the Inner Loop? We explore the ideas and the possibilities. Our guests: