ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The City of Rochester and the Village of Newark will each received $10 million for downtown revitalization efforts, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.

Rochester and Newark were selected for the state funding as the Finger Lakes region winners in the fifth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

“Investing in our downtowns is vital to reigniting New York’s recovery,” Gov. Hochul said. “These awards will enhance Rochester and Newark so that locals and visitors alike can enjoy all these areas have to offer. The Finger Lakes is a region brimming with history and attractions and I look forward to seeing how these winners will use their funds to bring their communities to the next level.”

Officials say the state government will work with residents, community leaders, and public officials to revitalize downtown areas and how the money will be spent.

The state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative is awarding $20 million to each of the 10 regions in New York for a total investment of $200 million.

“As we continue to recover from COVID-19, the State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative is a critical tool to help communities across the Empire State recover,” Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin said. “The $20 million in funding awarded to Rochester and Newark will help these communities achieve more vibrant neighborhoods and boost their post COVID-19 economies.”

From the governor’s office

Downtown Rochester’s Revitalization

Rochester’s DRI will focus on the transformation of the long-blighted area in the center of downtown along the north side of Main Street from Clinton Avenue down to the Genesee River. With a 17% population increase since 2010 and 50% of the population being aged 20-34 years old, Rochester’s downtown has seen significant private and public investment in the last 15 years, including new housing, hotels, updates to the convention center, multiple high-tech business and incubators to boost a burgeoning Downtown Innovation Zone, and a resurgence of the city’s waterfront thanks to dozens of projects that are part of the state supported ROC The Riverway initiative. However, the Main and Clinton block is in desperate need of redevelopment while progress continues all around it. The winning plan will help to improve streetscapes and public spaces, upgrade the built environment, and increase pedestrian access/connections in order to catalyze further investment in the area, putting the finishing touches on the city’s downtown revitalization, creating a resurgent Rochester where more people will want to live, work and play.

Newark

Downtown Newark is a compact, walkable, well-defined, and concentrated area that the village aims to make the heartbeat of a lively, world-class village and the cultural and commercial center of the Finger Lakes region with the Erie Canal serving as the village’s center of commerce. With multiple, large anchor institutions and ongoing job growth, Newark has seen nearly $220 million invested in the village in the last 10 years. A robust public engagement process led the village to identify needs for infill mixed-use development, more housing for workforce and seniors, and new space for indoor recreation and wellness with a focus on utilizing space along the Erie Canal. 

Rochester and Newark now join the Cities of Geneva, Batavia, Penn Yan and Seneca Falls, which were the Finger Lakes Region’s winners in the first four DRI rounds, respectively.