New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado today announced her approval of the City of Rochester’s updated Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP), providing a step-by- step process by which Rochester can advance waterfront planning from a vision to implementation. The plan’s approval is part of Governor Cuomo’s ongoing efforts to revitalize the upstate economy and create more opportunities for the Finger Lakes Region.
The LWRP, originally approved in 1990 and last updated in 2011, serves as a long-term management program for the City’s waterfront resources, addressing economic development, expansion of public waterfront access opportunities, redevelopment of underutilized and brownfield sites as well as protection of natural and cultural resources. The updated plan is a component of Finger Lakes Forward, the region's blueprint for economic growth.
“I commend the City of Rochester for updating its Local Waterfront Revitalization Program,” Secretary of State Rosado said. “We look forward to continuing our productive partnership with the City working towards transforming the waterfront into a bustling destination with public spaces and amenities for residents and visitors to enjoy and serving as a catalyst for development to further grow the economy.”
The LWRP Amendment expands land and water use planning to encompass the City’s major waterways – Lake Ontario, Genesee River and the Erie Canal – in a manner that capitalizes on and strengthens the unique characteristics of each waterway. The LWRP identifies more than 60 project recommendations to advance the City’s waterfront revitalization goals of promoting waterfront connectivity and accessibility, encouraging sustainability, developing four-season destination attractions, encouraging investment in waterfront development, preserving community character, and creating a healthy place to live, work and play. A few examples of recommended projects include Charles Carrol Park renovations, Durand Beach Bathhouse construction, Running Track Bridge rehabilitation and Genesee Gateway Park Improvements.
The development of the LWRP included input from a waterfront advisory committee comprising representatives from the City of Rochester, Monroe County, Town of Irondequoit, State and federal agencies, property owners, major institutions, community organizations, neighborhood associations and other waterfront stakeholders. Five focus group sessions, two public workshops and an online survey collected feedback from residents on waterfront priorities, current issues and specific project ideas.
City of Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren said: “I want to thank Secretary Rosado and her team at the New York Department of State for conducting a thorough review of Rochester’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and awarding us this important approval. With this approval in place, we are closer to leveraging the community-building, job-creating potential of Rochester’s waterfront properties along Lake Ontario, the Genesee River and the Erie Canal and moving forward on the exciting projects described in our ROC the Riverway Program. I am grateful that Governor Cuomo and all of our partners at the state level share our vision that Rochester’s beautiful waterfront will play a critical role in helping us create more jobs, safer/more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities.”
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, “Our community’s history is deeply connected to the waterfront and so too is our future. By reimagining and redeveloping Rochester’s waterfront we will realize the full economic potential or our waterways, enhance the quality of life and recreation opportunities for residents and visitors all while continuing to protect and celebrate a vital environmental asset. I applaud the approval of Rochester’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and look forward to seeing even greater things to come for the City of Rochester.”
Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer said, “I applaud the Department of State for approving this important measure that will bring great things to Rochester’s waterfront. The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program puts smart development and growth plans in place that supplement the great work already being done throughout the city. “
Assemblymember David F. Gantt said, “I am grateful to Secretary Rosado for recognizing the importance of this project to the city’s overall health and economic well-being. The approval of the amended Local Waterfront Revitalization Program will lead to exponential growth throughout Rochester and set the stage for even more development.
Assemblymember Harry Bronson said “This approval underscores a strong state commitment to the City of Rochester. We are excited for the revitalization already taking place throughout the City as well as the promise for things to come along the Genesee River waterfront. This is an important development that will further attract business and residents to Rochester.”
To accelerate implementation of the LWRP, Governor Cuomo announced an investment of up to $50 million through the “ROC the Riverway” Initiative to fund projects in Downtown Rochester which expand access to and capitalize on Downtown Rochester’s location along the Genesee River. In August, Governor Cuomo announced 13 transformative projects as part of the ROC the Riverway initiative would revitalize the underutilized area along the Genesee River in Downtown Rochester. The projects came at the recommendation of the appointed ROC the Riverway advisory panel, which created a new Vision Plan to prioritize the transformation of the area through targeted public and private investments.
The City of Rochester LWRP Amendment was prepared with the Department of State and adopted under provisions of Article 42 of the Executive Law. Preparation of the LWRP Amendment was financed through a $55,000 grant award from the Environmental Protection Fund.
The Department of State’s Office of Planning, Development and Community Infrastructure works in partnership with waterfront communities across the State through the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, focusing on protecting natural and cultural resources, expanding public access opportunities and strengthening the local economy.
Finger Lakes Forward
Under the Finger Lakes Forward initiative, the State is 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.