Empire State Development Announces Groundbreaking on ROC the Riverway Project

March 5, 2020

Upgrades to the Rundel Library’s North Terrace in the City of Rochester are Part of New York State’s Investment in Initiative that is Changing the Face of the Genesee River Waterfront

Investment Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that officials have broken ground on the new Rundel Library North Terrace in the City of Rochester. The terrace project is part of the transformative ROC the Riverway initiative, a series of riverside projects which, when complete, will create a seamless connection along the banks of the Genesee River. The initiative also supports the city's updated Local Waterfront Revitalization Program plan, which aims to attract millennials, enhance recreational opportunities, and drive growth along the underutilized waterfront. ESD is supporting the terrace upgrades with $1.5 million, which will assist with needed repair work and will also allow the library’s terrace area to be open for outdoor library rooms, café spaces and programming opportunities. There are proposed future plans to develop the space under the North Terrace, in conjunction with the Aqueduct Re-Imagined project outlined in the initiative. The upgrades are expected to be completed in late 2021.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "The ROC the Riverway initiative is already tapping the potential of downtown Rochester's Genesee River waterfront and is poised to drive tourism, economic momentum and encourage private investment that will keep the Finger Lakes moving forward."

The Rundel Library North Terrace project is one of 13 transformative projects announced by Governor Cuomo in August of 2018 that are receiving a part of $50 million in  funding through the regionally designed Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

"The Rundel Library North Terrace is an important cornerstone of the ROC the Riverway Initiative, which is fulfilling the community-building and job-creating potential of the river that runs through the heart of our city," Mayor Lovely A. Warren said. "It will be an exciting addition to the Rundel Memorial Building, a beautiful and unique community resource which stands at the juncture of the Genesee River, the old Erie Canal bed and the Johnson & Seymour Millrace."

Over the next few months the City of Rochester is also planning to break ground on much needed upgrades to the Blue Cross Arena and Charles Carroll Plaza and will begin the design phase of additional ROC the Riverway projects that will eventually result in the transformation of Genesee Gateway and High Falls Terrace Park along the river.

Last October, work got underway on the long-waited ROC City Skate Park in Downtown Rochester. When completed later this year, the park will offer skaters over 14,000 square-feet of space and it will be free and open to the public. Other projects supporting the momentum of the ROC the Riverway initiative include completed upgrades to the North Terrace at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center and to the Promenade at Erie Harbor which connected a path along the Genesee River.

The $8.1million dollar project is also receiving $2 million through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) which was secured by State Assemblyman David Gantt. Another $900,000 in support was secured by State Senator Joe Robach through the New York State Education Department. 

Senator Joe Robach, "The Rundel Library and the Genesee River have long been central to the quality of life of downtown Rochester. The North Terrace project will enhance the library patron experience and provide them with a place to enjoy the Genesee River and the outdoors in the heart of our city. I was pleased to work with many of my government partners and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council to secure funding for this transformative project. Truly a win-win for the residents of Rochester."

Assemblyman David Gantt said, "I was incredibly pleased to be able to secure a portion of the funding needed for this project. The updating of the historic library’s North Terrace is such an important piece of the transformative ROC the Riverway initiative which will serve to revitalize the underutilized area along the Genesee River in Downtown Rochester."

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, "It is wonderful to see the ROC the Riverway project continue to unfold, transforming our riverfront and adding even more reasons to visit community treasures like the Rundel Library. This exciting development bolsters our efforts to bring new investment and people into Monroe County."

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 $8.07 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.


Shari Voorhees-Vincent | [email protected] | (585) 399-7055
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