Rochester, N,Y.—In a move to support some of the largest planned projects in the Finger Lakes Region, an economic council gave a major boost to The College Town project
The move could mean an additional $4 million in public money to support construction of the pedestrian friendly string of stores, restaurants and hotel.
“When the mayor of Rochester comes in and says 'This is a top priorities for me, I’ll do everything I can for a project that will create 600 jobs, that are permanent, 900 that are construction'—people listen,” said Joel Seligman, President of the University of Rochester.
Seligman sits on the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and did not vote on the College Town project because of a possible conflict of interest.
College Town is expected to cost roughly $100 million, including $20 million in Federal Housing and Urban Development loans, county tax credits and a city grant. That does not include $4 million the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council has recommended for the project.
Some taxpayers question the need for such public money when the project is expected to be a major success.
Joy Knopf, a homeowner who lives near the development, said, “I think it’s a good project, but I think if it’s going to be beneficial, you know, if it’s going to be economically viable, they should be able to fund it with private dollars.”
While a private developer will receive the funding, not the University, Seligman said public funds are essential for the development of College Town.
“The answer is unequivocally yes, and that’s why this got unanimous support from our scoring committee with the highest possible score,” Seligman said.