While it was not originally part of the master plan that was presented by the Boston Consulting firm Lane, Frenchman and Associates, Inc. in 1983 to renovate and develop the entire Genesee River Corridor into downtown, the Genesee River footbridge was added as part of the 1986 master plans by Sasaki Associates, Inc. after residents of the 19th Ward voiced strong opinions for a bridge connecting UR to the west side of the Genesee River. This plan also included the closing of Wilson Boulevard.

The bridge wasn’t included in the original because that version was created with no citizen participation, Nathan S. Lane of Lane, Frenchman and Assoc. Inc. said. He attributed this to UR, the city of Rochester and Monroe County being suspicious of one another in the beginning and that citizen input would’ve made this more complicated. It was not included because they felt traffic would be modest and would not justify the original estimated cost of $1.5 million.

After citizen input and feelings that the entire project, in particular the closing of Wilson Boulevard, was intended to help UR to “strengthen its fortress” the bridge was included.

The bridge, engineered by Bergman and Associates ? an engineering firm, began construction in 1990 and was completed in the fall of 1991. The final cost was approximately $3.1 million ? consisting of $2 million from the County of Monroe and $1.1 from the City of Rochester.

University Vice President, General Secretary and Special Advisor to the President Paul Burgett said that “the bridge was a collaborative effort between the university, the city and the county. The university did not pay for any part of it.”

More recently, there are plans in the works to finally develop a college town across the Genesee, an idea that has been pursued since at least 1983.

This would incorporate another pedestrian bridge, created out of the abandoned railroad bridge near Hill Court.

If actually accomplished, this redevelopment would conclude a project that has spanned almost 20 years, millions of dollars and countless hours of the university’s thought and time.

Paris can be reached at tparis@campustimes.org.



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