Historic property to become part of new effort to transform world-class site at High Falls
Rochester, NY (May 29, 2013) – Friends of the GardenAerial has announced the acquisition of the historic 28,478 square-foot property known as 275 St. Paul Street, a parcel that contains the landmark Rochester Gas & Electric Station #4 as well as the escarpment over which the Genesee River flows, creating the 96-foot-high cascade known as High Falls.
This significant purchase, made possible by a gift from the Rose Family Foundation and a partial donation by the High Falls Development Corporation, is the official kick-off of Phase One of the GardenAerial project. This phase includes development of a walking bridge over the falls, a pedestrian connection directly into Downtown Rochester under the Inner Loop and the completion of a ¾-mile looped trail around the rim of the Gorge.
Through an innovative public-private partnership model, The GardenAerial Project seeks to preserve and return access and enjoyment of the Genesee waterfront at High Falls back to the community. It also advocates for and promotes the sustainable and sensitive development of lands and infrastructure in the Middle Gorge region of the Genesee.
“Change is coming. This is the first phase of a much larger project that will ultimately benefit the community – attracting visitors, providing educational opportunities and promoting commerce. People will not only be able to view the Falls from the Pont de Rennes bridge but also more directly experience the river’s power from many more ‘up close’ vantage points along the ¾-mile looped trail,” says Lewis Stess, CEO and Co-Founder of Friends of the GardenAerial.
Purchased from the High Falls Development Corporation, the property has historically been referred to both as “Upper Falls” and “High Falls.” In its earlier days, RG&E Station #4 harnessed the power of the falls to run the flour mills and other industries around the Gorge, helping Rochester garner its first nickname, “The Flour City.”
“Completing this looped trail allows us the ability to better integrate the High Falls and Middle Gorge areas into the urban fabric of our downtown – an achievement which will transform this forgotten area and, with further development, even help lead to a new identity for the City of Rochester,” said Michael Philipson, Co-Founder and Board Chair of Friends of the GardenAerial.
Other cities have built bridges not only as pathways of convenience but also to connect communities and groups within a city. One example is the Liberty Bridge over Reedy River Falls in Greenville, SC. The Carolina Foothills Garden Club and the City of Greenville built an iconic bridge structure over their local falls. This effort restored the former beauty of the falls area, providing a safe and welcoming gathering spot for individuals and groups creating new opportunities for economic development and tourism.
Similarly, Friends of the GardenAerial believes that this historic and important purchase of land will begin the process to reconnect communities, residents and visitors alike to our powerful river and its assets. The GardenAerial project will also become a catalyst for increased momentum and attention to one of the most important natural assets of Rochester and begin the process for positive change in the Middle Gorge of the Genesee, celebrating and preserving the beauty around the iconic falls and Gorge for all to enjoy.
FRIENDS OF THE GARDENAERIAL
Friends of the GardenAerial is a non-profit group founded in March 2011. The GardenAerial project’s mission is “to preserve natural and historic resources, and cultivate High Falls and the Upper Gorge transformation into a world-class public green space through stewardship, innovative design, and community outreach.” The GardenAerial is a grass-roots community organization, led by a 15-member Board of Directors and a prestigious Advisory Council. The organization’s headquarters is located at 81 Browns Race, Rochester, NY 14614. 585-287-5560. www.gardenaerial.org. Press Contact – Jackie Mangione, 585-967-7749. firstname.lastname@example.org