ESD Announces Completion Of Improvements At Historic Rochester Public Market

$4.5 Million State Investment Helped Fund The Market’s Transformation

July 12, 2017

Investment in Agriculture and Tourism Destination Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – Region’s Successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative Strategy to Grow the Economy and Create New Opportunities

Empire State Development today announced that a two year, nearly $8 million project  to upgrade the City of Rochester’s Public Market has been completed. The undertaking included renovation work to improve and expand market amenities for vendors, shoppers and businesses including the addition of a covered outdoor vending shed. The project also expanded the number of vendor stalls available, adding to the diversity of products available. A demonstration/education kitchen is also now on-site, and other amenities were added to improve the comfort and experience for visitors and vendors including new restrooms. The project is expected to lead to an estimated $8 million increase in annual sales.

Empire State Development President and CEO Howard Zemsky said, “The renovation of the historic Public Market in Rochester will help to provide much-needed access to fresh food, facilitate the creation of agriculture-related jobs in the region and make the market even more attractive to tourists. Supporting local agricultural and tourism efforts are crucial to the success of the Finger Lakes Forward regional economic development plan.”

The Rochester Public Market attracts many tourists each year and in 2010 was even named “America’s Best Farmers’ Market” by American Farmland Trust. The market is also home to the nation’s largest farmers’ market Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) with nearly $1 million in assistance redeemed each year. SNAP helps low-income families purchase fresh, healthy produce.  

To help with the market upgrade, Empire State Development, through the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, awarded capital grant funding totaling $2 million. The Market also received $2 million from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and $500,000 from additional state funds secured by Assemblyman David Gantt. The total project cost of the market improvement project was a little more than $8.3 million.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “By supporting the Rochester Public Market, we are helping New York’s farmers connect with new consumers while also increasing access to fresh, local produce for our communities through SNAP and through the State’s FreshConnect Checks program.  We congratulate the Rochester Public Market on this incredible milestone and look forward to our continued partnership in serving New Yorkers.”

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs, Monroe Community College President Anne M. Kress and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman said, “A crucial mainstay in our community, the Rochester Public Market is working to provide affordable, healthy food for residents and visitors alike. The FLREDC was happy to support this important project which will go a long way to benefit the local neighborhood and area farmers, food producers and retailers.”

Since 1905, the Public Market has been in operation at the site located 280 North Union Street. Vendors offer customers such items as local produce, meats ,seafood, eggs and dairy products, ethnic delicacies, specialty items and much more. Independent local businesses such as cafes, food stands, coffee shops, florists, breweries, and more can be found in the surrounding Market District.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said, “Our Public Market has been a center of commerce and culture in our community for 112 years,” said Mayor Warren. “It is one of the most dynamic and celebrated public markets in the nation and the completion of this ambitious project ensures it will remain a Rochester tradition for generations to come. Investments like this greatly improves our quality of life, supports local businesses and creates jobs, which ultimately leads to safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our citizens.”

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, “These improvements will transform the Rochester Public Market, helping to grow our local economy and strengthen the development of our regional food system. I am grateful to Governor Cuomo as well as my colleagues on the Regional Economic Development Council and our many community partners for their support and dedication to making this project a reality.”

State Senator Joe Robach said, “This is a great investment in the City of Rochester and the Rochester Public Market, which attracts thousands of people from our region every week. This $8 million renovation will improve services and amenities for market patrons and vendors, making everyone’s Rochester Public Market experience more enjoyable.”

State Senator Rich Funke said, “The Public Market is a Rochester institution and one of the greatest gathering places in our region. Now more than ever, the Market also fills a vital need by helping to make fresh, healthy foods easily accessible to families in the heart of our City. These new renovations, facilitated by our state investment, will ensure the Public Market is well-positioned to continue its run among the nation’s best for years to come.”

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said, “The Rochester Public Market is a staple of our city's downtown and serves as a great resource for fresh, healthy and affordable produce for families in our community. The improvements at the Rochester Public Market are a win for families and a win for Monroe County residents as they provide healthier dining options, connect residents with local agricultural products and help small businesses grow.”

For more information about the Rochester Public Market click here.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 
Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.​


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