Senator Charles Schumer is urging the federal and state departments of transportation to approve the City of Rochester’s application to upgrade Main Street to bring people back into downtown.
“It will be a real opportunity to reverse downtown's reputation as a ghost town after 5 p.m.," says Schumer.
The city is seeking $1.6 million from the DOT through a transportation alternatives program, or TAP, grant. The funding would help create 50 recessed parking areas along East Main Street, new sidewalks, lights, landscaping, bike racks, and kiosks that would help visitors navigate downtown.
"We now have our best chance in over three decades to revitalize Main Street and chart a new, prosperous course forward for downtown Rochester by injecting new energy, new on-street parking, street-level retail, restaurants, and housing right in the beating heart of downtown,” Schumer says. “Rochester’s new indoor bus station will open in five months, moving buses off of Main street for the first time, so we have no time to waste in creating a Main Street that will take advantage of the development.”
Officials say it’s estimated that the upgrades could generate thousands of dollars’ worth in new retail sales opportunities for Main Street business.
Schumer says the funding would also support renovation developments currently underway such as the Sibley Building and Midtown site.
Deputy Mayor Leonard Redon says there are approximately 6-thousand people living in downtown Rochester. He says that number could double over the next few years - with the help of federal and state dollars.
"It's really making it a neighborhood again where, 'hey, I can walk out and get my bagels and coffee in the morning' or I can even perhaps do a movie theater and I'm not in my car. But I'm enjoying the ambience. That's part of what those dollars are going to help us do."
Schumer also announced his support for approximately $1 million in TAP grant money for a separate project in the village of Webster.
Awards are anticipated to be announced in the fall. If the city's application is approved, the final design of the $2.4 million dollar overhaul of Main Street is expected to be complete by next year. Construction is projected to begin by 2016.