All over the country, from Texas to Maine, land trusts like Genesee Land Trust are working with their respective communities to determine how to make once forgotten or disparaged urban rivers prominent, positive features in their areas. As Jane Calvin, ED of Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust in Lowell, Massachusetts said, “The River, and the River Walk, is a major part of our identity, our wildlife habitat, our recreational assets – and our economy.”
In Sheridan, Wyoming, the Tongue River also runs through the center of the city and is on its way to becoming a similar beacon of transformation. There, Sheridan Community Land Trust and the community, including the business sector and area landowners, are working to make an old, often forgotten, urban river a community feature.
The Heart of the City
Now imagine a revitalization of the Genesee River. This winter and spring, Genesee Land Trust will collaborate with residents who live along the river in the city and other partners to continue public discussions with those interested in enhancing the Genesee River. The river flows for 13 miles through many Rochester neighborhoods before exiting into Lake Ontario.
As a major city feature, the river is a potential source of recreation such as paddling and biking, and its waterfalls and gorges provide stunning beauty. It’s also an important water source for the lake.
Mary Beth Popp, Genesee Brewery’s Director of Corporate Relations attended a community workshop this summer on the topic, and commented that “We see this as central to Rochester continuing to attract local businesses, tourists, and job opportunities. It could be a terrific economic driver in our area – and a great way to combine water and wildlife conservation with recreation.”
Like other urban rivers, there can be opportunities to address existing challenges such as a lack of public access and past pollution to create an amazing place in collaboration with local business, families and landowners, neighborhood groups, and area funders.
Would you like to be part of these discussions? We’d love to hear from you. Please sign up for our electronic newsletter below and we’ll keep you posted.