News Release - City Breaks Ground on Jefferson Avenue Revitalization Project

City of Rochester
News Release 

(Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012) – Mayor Thomas S. Richards joined federal, state and county leaders today to kick off the construction phase of the Jefferson Avenue Revitalization Project at a ground-breaking ceremony attended by more than 100 neighborhood residents and community leaders.

Joining the mayor were Maureen C. Duggan, representing Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter; State Assemblyman David F. Gantt; State Sen. Joseph E. Robach; County Legislator Willie J. Lightfoot; and City Councilman Adam C. McFadden.

“The revitalization of Jefferson Avenue represents one of the most collaborative undertakings in the history of Rochester,” said Mayor Richards. “At every stage of its development, this project has been powered by the vision of the people who live and work along Jefferson Avenue and its surrounding neighborhoods. It is a testament to the collective will power of a community, and I am honored to be a part of it.”

“Four years ago I promised members of the community that if they were willing to roll up their sleeves and do the work, I would find a way to secure federal funding to help make Jefferson Avenue the thriving community we all know it can be,” said Congresswoman Louise Slaughter who secured $1.1 million of federal funding for the project. “In a short time we will see new sidewalks, street lights, banners and bus shelters beautify Jefferson Avenue and that is certainly worth celebrating. I am especially proud of the work that has been going on behind the scenes, such as small business counseling, job training and health fairs that will further strengthen this community.”

Saturday’s ceremony marked the start of a $3.4 million reconstruction project along Jefferson Avenue, from West Main Street to South Plymouth Avenue. Upgrades will include a new street surface, dedicated crosswalks and architectural amenities that will foster community pride along an important commercial corridor in Southwest Rochester.

Amenities will include a neighborhood gateway, sidewalk benches, light pole banners, enhanced street lighting, decorative street and sidewalk light poles and bronze plaques that will highlight the history of Jefferson Avenue. Additionally, the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority will install two bus shelters along “The Avenue.”

Revenue sources include more than $1.5 million from the City Department of Environmental Services, more than $1 million in federal funds secured by Congresswoman Slaughter, $500,000 in City Focused Investment Strategy funds from the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development; and about $56,000 in state grants.

Revitalization of Jefferson Avenue will provide a strategic development link between the Voters Block project on West Main Street and the Brooks Landing district near the corner of Plymouth Avenue.

The Revitalization Project is more than three years in progress, but the construction phase marks the most visible development to date.

In 2011, the Rochester Gas and Electric Co. completed a $3 million upgrade of the underground power lines along the avenue to accommodate the new street poles. The City used the opportunity presented by the excavation to replace the water mains on Jefferson.

The utility-replacement phase overlapped several rounds of planning and design sessions among community stakeholders who played an active role in determining how the final streetscape would appear.

A steering committee of community leaders included active representation from the SouthWest Area Neighborhood Association; the Jefferson Avenue Business Association; the Urban League of Rochester; and the Sector 4 Community Development Organization. Well attended public meetings were hosted by Trinity Emanuel Presbyterian Church and School No. 4.

The planning and design phases also coincided with the establishment of the City’s new Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, which was created from a merger of the Departments of Community and Economic Development and the Neighborhood Service Centers. This prompted an unprecedented level of cooperation among City departments, which gave the revitalization project a much broader and deeper scope.

For instance, the boundary of the DES street-construction project was extended to include NBD’s Focused Investment Strategy area north of Tremont Street. And the Rochester Police Department provided design consultations that enhanced public safety.

An economic and community development phase of the project has already begun under the direction of NBD and will extend beyond the completion of construction. Elements of this phase include façade improvements, business recruitment, new-building construction and the conversion of vacant lots to urban agriculture centers.

Sealand Contractors Corp. will oversee the construction project, which is expected to be complete in the fall of 2012.


News Media: For more information, Contact Paul Holahan at 428-6855.