Leaders hope to model “ROC the Riverway” after Buffalo’s Canalside

The governor was in town Thursday to announce $50 million is headed to downtown Rochester to expand the Convention Center and redevelop the Genesee Riverway. Some say we could gain from looking at the success of the Canalside project in Buffalo. (WHAM photo)

Buffalo, N.Y. (WHAM) - Governor Cuomo was in town Thursday to announce $50 million is headed to downtown Rochester to expand the Convention Center and redevelop the Genesee Riverway. Some say we could gain from looking at the success of the Canalside project in Buffalo.

Canalside in Buffalo attracts about a million visitors year-round.

Joanne Magavern of Buffalo can be found enjoying the waterfront a few times a week.

"We've waited a long time for development on the waterfront," she said. “I come down. I bike. I skate. I hike. I walk. I don't boat, but I do just about everything else here."

Chris Pitek of Kenmore said Canalside has reinvigorated the city.

“It's the center of hub in Buffalo. It brings us all together,” he said, “You also have a lot of younger generation, people, business people, the medical campus, the educational field coming back to Buffalo."

That momentum is something the state now wants to bring to downtown Rochester. Governor Cuomo is pledging $50 million dollars to kickstart "Roc the Riverway" - a vision to expand the Convention Center and revitalize the Genesee Riverfront.

Buffalo area Congressman Brian Higgins said that kind of money will go a long way.

“About $40 million in public money leveraged about $250 million in private investment, and you'll see that throughout the Buffalo waterfront,” said Rep. Higgins. "They had boldness, they had vision and to take responsibility of something. That's what produced tangible results."

In the winter months, Canalside offers ice skating, ice bicycling, pond hockey and curling.

“There’s something year-round, You have group classes, ice cream, concerts on Canalside over by the docks,” said Pitek. “There's so much to do no matter what time of year it is, that it's fun and invigorating."

Local leaders are now working on a final plan that it will submit to the state three months from now.

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