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Skyline - featured 220X165Rochester is being left out in the cold.

Governor Andrew Cuomo went to Onondaga County on Wednesday to award $100 million in state money for waterfront development, which includes a $50 million performing arts center.

As Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany and even Utica get millions of dollars from the state, Rochester doesn’t even get a mention in the State of the State Address.

As Greater Rochester Enterprise’s Mark Peterson said, “I don’t know what’s going on.”

Could it be that the governor is not happy with his number two, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, who secretly applied to the top job at Rochester Business Alliance? Could it be our local elected officials are doing a poor job? What is it?

Keep in mind Rochester gets less state aid per capita that its Upstate counterparts. It’s also forced to give the City School District $119 million a year, more than Syracuse and Buffalo give their schools.

Let’s talk about a theater.

Syracuse gets money for a theater while our last two mayors haven’t been interested in such a project. “If the Rochester Broadway Theater League can raise money first, then we’ll help,” said Duffy and Tom Richards. That kind of attitude won’t get anything built. In order to build something with public and private dollars, you have to have an elected official as a champion. Mayor Lovely Warren has promised to be that champion for a performing arts center at Midtown. If she wants a theater downtown, she’ll get her state money for a theater downtown. RBTL’s current partner, Scott Congel at Medley Centre, does not have anyone fighting for him in Albany.

I like the idea of a downtown Rochester theater a lot better than the taxpayer-backed sports stadium projects for the Bills and SU. A theater would require less public money. Theater patrons spend substantial money in the community, at hotels and restaurants. The arts create a vibrancy in a community that sporting events do not.

Whatever dream project Rochester decides it wants, it seems now is the time to go after it, while Cuomo is in a generous mood.

Assuming he’s not mad at us.

13 Responses to Why Not Rochester?

  1. Bob Duffy is an evil talisman that just won’t go away. Did somebody forget to endorse Cuomo for re-election?

  2. January 30, 2014 at 9:46 am Andrew Zibuck responds:

    Problem #1: David Gantt. That guy does not bring home the bacon for Rochester, and he never has. His reputation in Albany is of an obstructionist, often for no discernible reason. Yet, he’s apparently Assemblyman for Life. He’s a good politician, and an awful representative.

  3. Rachel, you can’t call for public money for a theatre on one hand while decrying public funding for a stadium on the other… There’s no evidence that either increases spending in the community (I mean you use the same argument the pro-stadium crowd does). As for vibrancy in a community, that’s a personal preference issue, both create a different kind of vibrancy and both can be public good in their own way.

  4. January 30, 2014 at 11:15 am theodore kumlander responds:

    if new York state has so much money how about lowering our tax’s or more money for education. these dream projects always end up costing the local government’s more than they get. if there was a real demand for a theater or a sports stadium the private sector would build it.

  5. Why doesn’t a good reporter ask Bob Duffy this question on how Roch got left off? (again) Didn’t Duffy claim numerous times he could do more good for Roch in Albany in his Leut. Gov job?

    In our reporting did we forget the 130M the UR got for “Their” expressway exit? Thats what the regional economic council had at the top of their wish list last year. A group led by the UR PREZ, and no reporter questioned that conflict of interest?

    Funny had Danny Wegman asked for a Wegmans exit I think someone might have asked him a few questions. And I think they would have also called out, for Wegmans to put money in the project.

    The UR doesn’t have Wegmans money? Really? The UR doesn’t make profit like Wegmans, Really?

    The only real difference is Wegmans contributes 10s of millions in taxes paid, to the local communities, the state, the FEDS. The UR?

    Oh and Wegmans gives out far more scholarships to area Kids than the UR who only gives you a break if you go to the right schools in the city and if they accept you over their numerous foreign students they love to brag about. You know those students and Profs. who come here, get educated and then take back their learned knowledge to their home country to then compete with the US.

    Where did all the flowers go…. Pete?

  6. January 30, 2014 at 2:49 pm Anonymous responds:

    Based on my observations of the regional economic committee progress meetings it appears that Joel Seligman has simply vanished from regional economic meetings in Albany after money was won for the region funding an large amount of U of R related projects. It shows that the U of R at least might have been in it for self serving projects.

    In my opinion if you’re going to be given the honor to be the chair of this region it helps to make the meetings, instead of having someone else read a statement on behalf of him like a robot (Sandy Parker). It makes us all look arrogant and makes us look like we don’t need the state support.

    But I think there’s a bigger problem in this region we don’t talk about enough. It’s simply the politics that are getting in the way of the resources our smaller firms & entrepreneurs need to obtain to thrive in Rochester, NY. Instead they are being diverted to the big institutions in this area primarily the U of R in a lot of cases.

    It’s easy to live in Rochester and buy into propaganda from the u of r that they are an economic engine. But If you look at us like someone with an outside perspective it probably sounds like we aren’t really performing.

  7. January 30, 2014 at 3:42 pm Urban Explorer responds:

    I agree with Orielly. Hardly anyone questioned the $100 million for U of R’s new exit so their employees can save 5 minutes on their commute. Apparently that’s the priority in this region.

    How many Performing Arts Centers would that have built? Or, to the point of some of your tweets yesterday regarding West Henrietta Road… $100 mil would’ve have bought a heckuva lot of sidewalks and bus shelters and bike lanes on West Henrietta.

  8. January 30, 2014 at 4:39 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    We need money for our waterfront where the Genesee River flows into Lake Ontario as well as in Syracuse where Onondaga Creek flows into Onondaga Lake, as well as Buffalo’s Inner and Outer Harbors, where the Buffalo River flows into Lake Erie. All three to four waterfronts in the W&CNY region need to be redone, and maybe also a new performing arts center in Rochester as well.

  9. January 30, 2014 at 9:28 pm John Moriello responds:

    If Mario’s kid was really that upset with Duffy, he would have kicked him to the curb already.

    The fact of the matter is that the Rochester legislative delegation has underperformed for many years now.

    This goes back to when we lost Roger Robach, Ralph Quattrochiocci and several of their contemporaries all in a short period of time.

    The David Gantts and Susan Johns of the world never came close to matching their abilities.

  10. duffy was supposed to help Rochester 10x’s more with is job as LG. I’d like to know how that has panned out. (but we already know, don’t we?)

  11. March 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm Barbara Hatch responds:

    UofR claims to be a huge benefactor to the community. Hum, it pays no taxes. Henrietta and towns pay for their fire, ambulance, roads, water lines and sewer lines.

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