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Phase I of Skatepark opens

The long-awaited ROC City Skatepark opened during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday. The much-anticipated skatepark, located along the Genesee Riverway Trail under the Frederick Douglass-Susan B. Anthony Bridge, just south of the Erie Harbor Promenade, is part of the ROC the Riverway project.

An artist's rendering of ROC City Skatepark
An artist’s rendering of ROC City Skatepark

“The opening of ROC City Skatepark brings a new vitality and sense of energy to Downtown Rochester,” Mayor Lovely Warren said. “And it also provides a beautifully designed space specifically for skateboarders, rollerbladers, BMXers and other progression-oriented sports enthusiasts to revel in their sport, hone their skills and enjoy endless hours of outdoor recreation along the banks of the Genesee River.

“I want to thank the Friends of the ROC City Skatepark, who first introduced this idea to the community, along with all of our partners and funders who helped make it a reality, including the New York State Department of Transportation, Rochester Gas and Electric, the Skatepark Project and the Sands Family Foundation. Your commitment and investment in this project have made possible a fun-filled venue that will undoubtedly provide plenty of thrills and excitement for residents and visitors to our city,” Warren said.

The ROC City Skatepark is a $3.1 million project that includes mini-ramps and ledges, stairs and handrails, competition bowls and a main skate promenade, as well as opportunities for public art and performances. The Skatepark takes advantage of land that is situated under an interstate bridge and associated off ramps that would have otherwise been unbuildable.

A rendering showing the different phases of the ROC City Skatepark
A rendering showing the different phases of the ROC City Skatepark

The Skatepark is one of several ROC the Riverway projects that are designed to highlight the Genesee River as the centerpiece of Rochester by creating activities and attractions along both banks of this centralized waterway. ROC the Riverway projects received a $50 million investment from New York State, first announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in February 2018.

“New York State’s Roc the Riverway investment is working to attract more businesses, families and visitors to Rochester,” said Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler. “This long-anticipated skatepark is just one example of the strategic placemaking investments that are revitalizing city centers and fueling economic growth here in the Finger Lakes and around the state.”

The idea of building a public Skatepark for the benefit of the community was first introduced to city officials in 2008 by the ROC City Skatepark Coalition, the precursor to the Friends of the ROC City Skatepark, officials noted. The group’s vision and commitment to the concept convinced the city to invest funds in the project. Additional funding was provided through ROC the Riverway monies and an Upstate Revitalization Grant from the state Department of Transportation; Commercial Corridor and Main Street Revitalization economic development grants through RG&E; Built to Play and Environmental Impact Grants from The Skatepark Project (formerly the Tony Hawk Foundation); and contributions from the Sands Family Foundation and the Friends of the ROC City Skatepark.

“We are very grateful for the support and the partnerships this project has gained over the 12 years that have brought us to this day,” said Michael Riordan, president of the Friends of the ROC City Skatepark. “Now that the first phase of the skatepark is a reality, we are excited to help to activate the space in a way that brings the community together.”

Construction of the Skatepark began a year ago. C.P. Ward served as the lead contractor for the project, while Stantec Inc. and New Line Skateparks Inc. provided design consulting services.

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