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City, County, and State officials celebrate the completion of the ROC the Riverway Rundel Memorial Library North Terrace Improvement project today.
"The Rundel Library North Terrace project is an exciting and synergistic addition to the public library building, which stands at the confluence of the Genesee River, the old Erie Canal bed, and the Johnson and Seymour Millrace," said Mayor Evans. "Its completion is a testament to the evolution and innovation that is taking place in our Center City, and provides the community with even more opportunities to enjoy Downtown programming Authority of the State of New York, and many others, we are able to increase visibility and access to our riverfront."
"The Rundel Library North Terrace project is yet another piece of the ROC the Riverway initiative which is tapping into the exciting community-building potential of the beautiful Genesee River that runs through the heart of downtown Rochester," said Empire State Development President and CEO Hope Knight. "This multi-purposed addition to the historic building will serve as yet another important resource for residents and visitors alike as we continue our work, along with our local economic development partners, to move the region forward."
"I would like to recognize Chevo Studios and the City of Rochester for their partnership in the development of the ROC the Riverway Rundel Library," said NYS Assemblymember Demond Meeks. "This improvement is a vibrant public space for our children and families to enjoy our historical infrastructure along the Erie Canal. Located in the heart of Downtown Rochester, our community can thrive on what our Library has to offer while overlooking the Genesee River. This experience will provide a greater connection to our city through art and community engagement. We are grateful for this investment and we thank our local libraries for their astounding service to the members of our community."
"The reimagining of the Rundel Library North Terrace celebrates the history of the Genesee River corridor while expanding access and connectivity," said NYS Senator Jeremy Cooney. "This completed work also encourages even more community members to take advantage of the wealth of opportunities and resources the Rundel Library offers. I am grateful for the support of Governor Hochul, Mayor Evans, and Empire State Development in furthering Roc the Riverway projects like this one in our center city."
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"This project is another example of the energy that is emanating from our downtown. Buildings are springing up or being renovated all along our waterfront, bringing new residents and new businesses to downtown," said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. "Projects like the newly renovated Rundel Library Terrace provide a welcoming and accessible gathering space that utilizes our library system as the central community hub it was designed to be."
Renovations included in the $9.8 million, multi-year development project feature a modernized Rundel Library North Terrace with an outdoor riverfront theater, an overlook to the Genesee River, and an interpretive water runnel that represents the old canal bed and former subway tunnel that rests beneath the terrace. Visitors can enjoy outdoor seating, landscaping, and an interactive water feature. Renovations to the north terrace are part of a multi-year development project to overhaul the structure of the library building and terraces. The project included the reconstruction of the structural concrete beams, slabs, columns, and foundations of the Rundel building and the elevated north terrace.
The project also included four public art installations that the City commissioned. Colorado-based Chevo Studios artwork honors Rochester's legacy of water power, manufacturing, transportation, and innovation inspired by the Genesee River and Erie Canal and the industry that built Rochester.
"Each artwork is designed to be both a beautiful piece of sculpture and a welcoming place to be…to allow visitors to engage with the sculptures and explore the chapters of history that reside on the site," said Andrew Dufford, artist and principal at Chevo Studios.
To mark the opening of the library terrace, several special activities are planned over the next several weeks, including Sidewalk Astronomy with the Rochester Museum and Science Center, site tours of the terrace to discuss the historical significance of the artwork by the City's historian, and theatrical performances.
The project was funded by N.Y. State's Empire State Development through the ROC the Riverway program, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, Friends and Foundation of the Rochester Public Library, and RG&E.
To learn more about the Rundel Library North Terrace Structural Improvement project, visit https://www.cityofrochester.gov/rundelterrace/ or the public artwork at https://roccitylibrary.org/rundel-public-art/.
- The Rundel Memorial Library was built in 1936 on pilings above the Johnson & Seymour Mill Race, which was constructed in 1815, and the old Erie Canal bed, which was built in 1825.
- In 1927, the old canal bed was converted into a subway tunnel until 1956.
- Between 1956 and 1996, a portion of the subway bed was used to build parts of Interstates 490 East and 590. The western portion of the subway tunnel had limited use for freight service deliveries.
- In 1985, the Rundel building was listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.
- The millrace under the library serves as the cooling system for the building and spills back into the Genesee River through a series of arches on the building's west facade.
- Phase I (2008): substructure repairs on the perimeter and beneath the library building.
- Phase II (2010): substructure repairs under the loading dock, and Court Street south and east terraces.
- Phase III (2013): repairs on the southern portion of the Court Street terrace, including a new top slab, pavers, and drainage system for both the terrace and adjacent loading dock.
- Phase IV (2017): north terrace on Broad Street was closed to the public due to significant structural deterioration and safety concerns; project planning and design began.
- Summer 2018: Rundel Public Library released a Call for Artists/Request for Qualifications.
- Spring 2020: construction began on the north terrace
- Summer 2022: renovations completed.
New Terrace Features
- Outdoor seating, a riverfront theater, and an overlook to the Genesee River.
- An interpretive water runnel that represents the old canal bed and former subway tunnel that rests beneath the terrace
- Light features that mimic the Genesee River, landscaping, and an interactive water feature.
- The Gateway: the central piece on the terrace sits at the corner of South Avenue and Broad Street, and includes carving of symbols signifying Rochester's rich history.
- Water Table: an interactive water feature at the terrace overlook.
- Mill Wheel: a reminder that waterpower provided the industrial growth for the Flour City.
- Canal Boat: an interpretive seating sculptural in the terrace.
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News Media: For more information, contact Communications Director Barbara Pierce at Barbara.Pierce@cityofrochester.gov.
The City of Rochester administration of Mayor Malik D. Evans is committed to promoting positive systemic and structural change by providing transparent and collaborative leadership, offering equitable access to essential municipal services, enabling productive intergovernmental, private, and non-profit partnerships, and promoting increased quality of life through investments that create vibrant neighborhoods and employment opportunities, making Rochester a hope-filled city with an exciting future. For more information, visit http://www.cityofrochester.gov.
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