A waterfall - inside a canyon - in the heart of the city. That's our city. In the 1830's it was the 96-ft tall Falls that brought the nickname "Flour City" to Rochester, as the waterways brought flour mills to the area. A shift happened in the 1920's when coal became a source of energy and the flour mills became history....
...today, this area needs some tender love and care.
This is where the Friends of GardenAerial comes in! This non-profit that formed in March of 2011, is hard at work with plans to turn High Falls into something even greater than it already is. On March 20th, the first day of Spring, they will break ground on the FlourGarden (weather permitting), something that will bring much green and life to our city. This is the first of 3 phases of urban revitalization at High Falls.
You have probably seen the empty raceway along Brown's Race and wondered if it was ever something. If you come here now outside of business hours, you may even wonder if High Falls was ever full of life at all. Don't worry - new life is on the way! In partnership with the City of Rochester, GardenAerial will be creating a 300-foot long sustainable urban greenway in the abandoned raceway!
What exactly does that mean? Check out the plans below:
And this is just Phase 1! Interested in knowing more about the project and Phases 2 & 3 - check out this TEDxFlourCity Talk.
Rochester won't be the first city to take on this type of green, urban environment... have you heard of the High Line in NYC? Built in the 1930's as part of a massive infrastructure project, it removed trains from the streets of Manhattan and placed them 30 ft. above traffic. But in 1999 it faced the threat of demolition having not been used since 1980. Thankfully, a group formed (Friends of the High Line) and partnered with the City of New York to maintain the structure as an elevated public park. The result… amazing!
Want to skip ahead and get a sneak peek into Phase 3 of the project? It involves a re-imagining of the Pont de Rennes bridge at High Falls, creating an upper AND lower level. The lower level being a Wintergarden to be enjoyed year round. This is the bridge now...
(Both shots are of the High Line in New York City)
Our city is in revival. Downtown development is growing, the number of city residents is on the rise, and High Falls will be a major part of this.
Rochester doesn't just have a great past, it has a great future.
GardenAerial is "dedicated to the sustainable redevelopment and revitalization of the High Falls District into an area of green innovation, sustainability, tourism and recreation." They go on to say that, "Realizing the lost potential of such an amazing asset [High Falls] is in part how the vision of the GardenAerial project began" (via Creating a Sustainable and Resilient Rochester for the Future). We could not be more excited to watch these plans come to fruition!
Lastly, a HUGE thank you to our friends at GardenAerial for sharing their plans with us... and YOU!
For more information: Friends of GardenAerial Website Details on the 3/20/14 Groundbreaking TEDxFlourCity Talk Blog Post by Ben Woelk: Creating a Sustainable and Resilient Rochester for the Future