Historic Market Supports Hundreds of Jobs and Entrepreneurial Activity for the Agricultural industry
Project Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – Region’s Successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative Blueprint to Grow the Economy and Create New Opportunities
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an $8 million renovation and improvement project to expand the City of Rochester Public Market’s infrastructure, amenities, and architecture. Rochester’s city-run public market served the community since 1905 with vendors offering fresh produce, ethnic delicacies, specialty items, general merchandise and more right in the city’s urban core. The Market received $2 million from the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, $2 million from Empire State Development following its selection as a priority project by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and $500,000 from additional state funds secured by Assemblyman David Gantt.
Senator Joseph Robach and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren joined Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul at the groundbreaking ceremony. Renderings of the City of Rochester Public Market renovation project and updates can be found here.
“The Rochester Public Market provides high-quality, local produce for the region while spurring economic activity,” said Governor Cuomo. “This funding will build on the Market’s success by attracting investment and supporting new opportunities for New York’s farmers and vendors and will keep New York’s agricultural economy growing.”
“The Rochester Public Market is essential to the regional economy and a historic landmark that plays an important role in the lives of families who depend upon its produce and services. We are proud to be part of its next phase of growth and success,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Through the governor's regional development councils we are revitalizing Upstate by building upon the strengths that have endured over generations, just as the Market has, and it is gratifying to see the next chapter of this story unfold.”
“The City of Rochester Public Market has been a celebrated hub of commerce and culture in our city for 111 years,” said City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. “The Market is a place where people from all walks of life come together to shop, eat and celebrate. This ambitious new project will make our much loved Market even better and position it for the future. I’d like to thank the Lieutenant Governor and our partners in State government for their efforts to help fund the improvements to this public urban treasure. Investments like this helps us create a strong environment for more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities.”
The first phase of the project will include utility, pavement and sidewalk upgrades and the construction of a new covered, outdoor shed that will allow 48 new vendors into the Market. It will be modeled closely in design and location to an original 1904 shed which was demolished in 1963. Once the new shed is complete, vendors occupying the existing indoor shed will be moved to the temporarily enclosed newly constructed outdoor shed while the indoor shed is replaced with a new brick and glass structure. Additional restroom facilities will be added behind the new indoor shed, and four stand-alone food kiosks will moved into customized, new structures fabricated from repurposed steel shipping containers.
Overall, the project is expected to take about 18 months to complete and will increase patronage at the Market throughout the year, leading to an estimated $8 million increase in annual sales and more entrepreneurial opportunities for farmers and suppliers of fresh food. More than 100 New York State farmers are vendors at the Rochester Public Market.
“The Rochester Public Market has been a valuable partner to the Department,” said Richard A. Ball, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. “It is the largest participating market in our FreshConnect Checks program, which provides underserved New Yorkers access to fresh, locally grown foods and helps farmers reach new customers. The Department is proud to support this expansion project and build on that success.”
“The Rochester Public Market benefits the city by supporting agriculture-related jobs, providing much-needed access to fresh food and welcoming tourists,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “By investing in projects like the Public Market we are investing in our communities.”
The Market will remain open its regular days and hours— Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.—throughout the project. More parking has been provided by opening up the nearby Freddie Thomas Middle School lot (Scio Street) on busy Saturdays; and the Market will once again run its free trolley shuttle to ferry shoppers to and from City-owned Market parking lots.
The Market boasts the nation’s largest farmers’ market supplemental nutritional assistance program with nearly $1 million in assistance redeemed each year. Consumer research also shows that the Market attracts many tourists, particularly since American Farmland Trust bestowed the title of “America’s Best Farmers’ Market” on the Market in 2010.
Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs, Monroe Community College President Anne M. Kress and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman said, “As one of the oldest public markets in the nation, the Rochester Public Market is a mainstay in our community, bringing affordable, healthy food to residents and visitors from all walks of life. The Regional Council supported this renovation and improvement project because of the Market’s significant potential to be a catalyst for private investment in the neighborhood and its continued collaboration with New York State farmers, food producers and retailers.”
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D Morelle said, “With this critical investment now in place, the City of Rochester Public Market will be better positioned to support the continuing development of our regional food system, accelerate the revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood, grow our local economy and ensure access to fresh, high-quality foods for our urban population. I applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo for his continued commitment to our community and I thank my colleagues on the Regional Economic Development Council and our many community partners for coming together behind a unified vision for the Public Market.”
Senator Joe Robach said, “This is a great investment in the City of Rochester and the Rochester Public Market, which attracts thousands of people from throughout our region every week. This $8 million renovation will improve services and amenities for market patrons and vendors, making everyone’s Rochester Public Market experience more enjoyable.”
Senator Richard Funke said, “Rochester wouldn’t be the same without our great Public Market, which is part of the heartbeat of our community and consistently ranked one of the best of its kind in the entire nation. Not only does the Market deliver fresh, affordable produce to hundreds of working families in the center of our City, it also helps attract jobs and investment here by enhancing our high quality of life. I’m excited that our significant State investments will help support vital improvements at the Market and I thank Mayor Warren, Governor Cuomo, and all involved for their partnership.”
Assemblyman David Gantt said, “The Public Market is an important part of Rochester’s economic and cultural well-being. Making these improvements will be a huge boost for our community.”
Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agricultureý and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.
Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.
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