State money is headed to the Finger Lakes Region to the tune of $63.9 million.
The entire project is worth $755 million for the entire state. This money is aimed at economic and community development from museums to universities and the biggest amount locally is headed toward the old Irondequoit Mall.
The developer will have $2 million to create a showcase for potential renters. The empty mall continues to get funding, and today was no different. “It shows that it’s not only a regional priority, but a state priority,” said Irondequoit town supervisor Dave Seeley.
Seeley says thanks to the funding, work on the largest vacant property in Monroe County could begin early next year. “The goal is to get the first third of the mall really as a model for what the rest of the mall will look like,” said Seeley.
On a smaller scale, Carvin Eison and Rochester Community TV in partnership with the Frederick Douglass Foundation was awarded $75,000 to erect Frederick Douglass statues all over Rochester. They would be exact replicas of the one in Hyland Park (the first ever African-American statue in the country).
“We are going to do a celebration in this community,” said Eison, “To recognize the legacy of Frederick Douglas at a level that will be impressive.”
The New York State regional council helped vet hundreds of applications in the Finger Lakes Region, then competed with other regions for state funding.
After six years the program has its share of critics. In a statement Greece Assemblyman Peter Laurence says “New Yorkers are increasingly skeptical of the manner in which this money is being spent.” He also wrote “The governor today threw money around the state as if he was the host of a television game show.”
Even the Capelli sports arena is receiving money. The home to the Rochester Rhinos will not see as much action next year since the team owners canceled the 2018 season due to lack of funds. Owner Dave Dwerkin, co-owner of the Rhinos, originally asked for $300,000 but was granted a third of that to help improve to HD cameras and repair the replay system. This would allow him to comply with league regulations.
The goal is to spur development and create jobs. In Irondequoit there are plenty who say it will be money well spent.