Gov. Kathy Hochul has outlined $172.5 million in new state funding for Rochester projects—including $100 million for Inner Loop North.
Funds for these projects are contained in the $216 billion state budget which is awaiting approval from the state Legislature. Hochul made these announcements at Monroe Community College’s downtown campus today.
Inner Loop funds will come from the Department of Transportation’s five-year capital plan to complete the infill of the sunken highway, with the goal of reconnecting downtown Rochester with its surrounding neighborhoods.
“Infrastructure is not about just asphalt and shovels and building roads. It’s also about connecting communities…. We want to connect communities, bring people back down and make sure our downtowns are vital,” says Hochul, adding that the project is an illustration of people coming together for change.
Monroe County’s Seneca Park Zoo, which has been undergoing a major overhaul, is slated to receive an additional $42.5 million to complete visitor experience enhancements. Upgrades to Frontier Field will get $10 million to help meet Major League Baseball standards.
“This investment of $42.5 million to modernize and expand the Seneca Park Zoo will help us offer new species, best-in-class habitats, enhanced visitor experiences and more opportunities for families and children to learn how to connect with, care for and conserve wildlife and wild places,” says Monroe County Executive Adam Bello.
Hochul also unveiled new concept plans and renderings for the High Falls State Park and launched the beginning of the public input phase to get feedback from community groups, stakeholders and other interested residents.
The park is part of the second phase of the ROC the Riverway initiative. Phase 2 includes $2.5 million from the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and an additional $5 million for the Aqueduct Reimagined project.
“The word ‘transformational’ does not begin to describe the monumental level of investment Governor Hochul delivered to Rochester and the rest of the Finger Lakes region today,” says Rochester Mayor Malik Evans. “By fully funding the Inner Loop North project at the outset while accelerating the progress of our ROC the Riverway program and leveraging other investments along the Genesee River corridor, Governor Hochul has fundamentally altered the vision for Rochester’s future from ‘if’ to ‘when.’”
Another $20 million has been committed to Luminate NY. The optics, photonics and imaging accelerator helps with the commercialization of emerging industry technologies.
“Our focused investments in these transformative projects in the Finger Lakes will serve to promote greater inclusivity for everyone in the community, further bolster regional tourism efforts and improve the overall quality of life for generations to come,” Hochul says.
Her trip to Rochester also included a meeting with Evans on solutions to the increase in gun violence.
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor.
I was about 14 years old when the Inner Loop was built and I knew even then that it would cut off and inconvenience so many people, including me. It was an example of the lack of respect and concern for inner city people to help those in the suburbs. I hope those days have ended.