Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Rochester on Wednesday to announce funding for the ROC the Riverway projects.
Cuomo stood behind a podium at the Joseph B. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center Wednesday morning.
New York pledged $50 million in funding to help projects along the Genesee River. The initiative was first announced in February by the governor. The Roc the Riverway program is described as "an ambitious plan to focus development along the Genesee River."
The first round of projects for the program, 13 in all, include a re-imagined aqueduct, which is expected to become a centerpiece of the Downtown transformation. It will be a place for public gatherings and community events throughout the year. $4.5 millon was awarded for the project.
One of the biggest changes will be the closing of the Broad Street Bridge to traffic and opening the former aqueduct. The idea is to create a public space all the way from the convention center to the Blue Cross Arena.
The Blue Cross Arena also received $6 million. There are plans to add a riverside restaurant or bar for waterfront dining, as well as a larger concessions area that would show visitors a view of the river.
This comes on the day Pegula Sports and Entertainment took over management at the arena.
"As we get into working long-term with them, I'm sure that other additional support for the Blue Cross Arena will be part a of it," said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.
Fences around the terrace of the convention center are the first signs of the work already being done. Wednesday, a ceremonial groundbreaking was held.
Funding will also go toward renovating the Riverside Terrace at the Riverside Convention Center. There are plans to add handicap accessibility, new river railings, and new LED lighting, among other improvements.
$1 million will also be invested into a new public skate park under the I-490 Douglass-Anthony Bridge. It will have access to the Riverway Trail and adjoin the Downtown and South Wedge neighborhoods.
Also, $2 million was granted to make improvements to the existing Genesee Riverway Trail. There are plans to expand the park river access to the South Wedge neighborhood, and build upon existing developmental projects.
A total of 13 projects have been recommended for the $50 million in state funding. Those projects include:
In all, those projects would cost nearly $191 million. The state funding would offset about one quarter of that cost, leaving room for city, county and private sources of funding.
In the last few months, the ROC the Riverway advisory board has been meeting with residents for input on what they want to see along the river. The City has received a broad agreement that something needs to be done along the river.
The projects are expected to be worked on in stages and will take at least 5-10 years to complete.
"The original ROC the Riverway conceptual plan was a 10-year plan," said Mayor Warren, "and so if we're able to continue to get dollars to support this project, then we'll get it done in 10 years."
13WHAM News will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.