Our HydroStation and ROC the Riverway Initiative

With funding and guidance from the City of Rochester and ROC the Riverway, Hunt Engineering is close to completing the study of the Hydro Station’s structural integrity.  Drones were used to glimpse inside. Repellers jumped off the edge to look at the outside. A boat was launched to look underneath. 

Sensors were placed to measure vibration on top. Data is being compiled, and will be presented to the newly formed High Falls Overlook Advisory Committee that will meet before the end of the year. Community members on the Advisory Committee will be helping to inform next steps to take in the development of the building. 

Representatives on the committee include the Genesee Brewery, Greentopia, Genesee River Alliance, Pike Company, RG&E, Visit Rochester, Ibero American Development Corporation, and the High Falls Business Improvement District.

Please take a moment to read this update and support our Annual Campaign.  Every dollar counts towards helping Greentopia continue its exciting work and brings us closer to a more vibrant, sustainable and equitable community.

A Visit From Joe Morelle

On September 4th Congressman Joe Morelle came to visit our High Falls viewing dock and take a tour of Hydro Station 4, the first hydroelectric station in Rochester now owned by Greentopia! Congressman Morrell received the full tour of our facilities from Greentopia’s Executive Board Chair Lisa Baron. Erik Frisch from the City updated Congressman Morelle on the ROC the Riverway project in HIgh Falls and Ben Gustafson from Hunt Engineering shared the latest findings of the structural study being done on Hydro Station 4.

The Roc the Riverway initiative seeks to capitalize on the riverfront property and adjacent natural space of the city of Rochester, places such as the High Falls and the beautiful gorge. By investing in these places such as the High Falls and the beautiful gorge, Rochester will be able to generate space for economic development, family recreation, environmental protection, and education about the natural assets of the city of Rochester. These green spaces are a part of Rochester that so far has been an untapped resource.

We were so happy to share the High Falls and our vision with Representative Morelli, Thank you for the visit Congressman!

Click here to donate to the Ecodistrict!

The grass is greener on the Greentopia side of the street

The grass is greener on the Greentopia side of the street

We’ve moved!

While it was nice being in the building on the corner of Platt Street and Brown’s Race, the sale of the building that housed Greentopia for the last several years resulted in our move to new digs across the way at 74 Brown’s Race.

“If you need us, we’re across the street,” said Greentopia Co-Founder Michael A. Philipson.  The move happened May 1 and the new quarters are both larger and a little more accessible, as the space is all on one level now – no more steps and ramps! One added bonus is the new office provides additional income for our initiatives because it includes two spaces to rent out, one of which is occupied. Another bonus is our new boardroom and balcony look out over the Genesee River gorge. And that’s the reason Greentopia moved to the High Falls area in the first place.

Stop by if you get a chance.  Just remember, we’re on the river side of the road now.

5 Greentopia developments coming in 2016

It’s going to be an exciting year for Greentopia, as we move further into creating some of the physical projects that have been a goal since our inception. Here’s a look at what’s coming:

  • Any day now: the FlourGarden will be finished. Final details, such as wood bannisters on metal rails, are being put in this week. The project is the first of several steps to build the GardenAerial, a series of public amenities, infratructure and gardens surrounding the High Falls. Perennial native plants are in, but dormant now. You can also check out our new handrails and water channel. Fountains are there but not visible at the moment. This new amenity will really come alive in the spring, so watch out for our Grand Opening events!
  • March through May: Greentopia offers tours of the High Falls area on the first and third Thursdays of each month, weather permitting. You will need to sign-up online and arrive at 81 Browns Race a few minutes before noon to be included in a 30-minute walking tour of the waterfall in a canyon in the middle of downtown Rochester.
    Did we mention these are free?
  • In April: Green Visions will embark on its fourth year. This is the community program that provides job training and work in the horticultural field for urban youth, at the same time that it beautifies the JOSANA neighborhood in Northeast Rochester. In 2015, this program sold flowers to Wegmans, Hart’s Grocery and customers of the Rochester City Public Market. In 2016, Green Visions hopes to develop a larger commercial customer base and become more self-sustaining. You’ll soon be able to directly sponsor one of our Urban Flower Farmers – a youth from JOSANA neighborhood doing rewarding and meaningful work. The price is affordable even for small businesses.
  • May 15: A Garden Party, a brand new fundraiser to celebrate the opening of the Flour Garden. This will be an affordable event seeking to attract a broad range of people to see the newest development at High Falls. Check back here soon to find out more and buy tickets.
  • Throughout 2016: Development of the Pont du Rennes. New community interest and opportunities have arisen to make the pedestrian bridge a more important corridor connecting Genesee Brewery and St. Paul Quarter on the east bank and MCC and the Rochester Red Wings games on the west side of the river. As a result, Greentopia will turn its capital development focus on Granite Mills Square and this bridge. Some may recall that when Greentopia held its first GreentopiaFest, creating a park in the sky out of the bridge was one of the bold ideas shared then. Now, with the completion of the FlourGarden, it’s time to get moving on that!

And here’s something you won’t see in 2016 – Greentopia festivals, like the ones offered free for four years. The original festival and the film festival that grew out of it both took lots of time, effort and money, but they were worth it to bring awareness to Rochester’s biggest hidden asset — High Falls. Our founders and board of directors have decided that the time has come to devote those resources to making the GardenAerial at High Falls a reality. The festivals aren’t truly gone, though. Many of their elements (free and low-cost events) will be spread throughout the year, but in a more sustainable way that supports the goal of attaining a vibrant, publicly-accessible realm around the falls. To become a part of that, consider becoming a member.

And look out 2016!

Greentopia Premieres New GardenAerial Promotional Short Film

If you missed us at the Futures Summit at Monroe Community College, you missed:

  • a. a great event
  • b. the premiere of our new short film featuring the GardenAerial! Not to worry, you can check out this new film now.

This film gives a 5-minute overview of the entire GardenAerial project. It features stunning new footage of the High Falls and Gorge and testimonials by some of our citiy’s most influential leaders in government, education, innovation and business. Please take a minute (well, 5 minutes, actually) and feel free to share with your networks. We really want to get the word out about this transformational project and we think this film does a great job doing that.

Once you’ve seen the film, if you are inspired by the message and if you ‘believe in the GardenAerial’, please consider giving a donation so we can continue the work of Greentopia.

Many thanks to Don Caspar at Epic 10 Films and also to J.R. Kraus and crew at 57th Street Productions and WXXI for providing a stunning clip of the falls seen from the base of the gorge! We’d also like to thank: Maggie Brooks, Lovely Warren, Bob Duffy, Jim Senall, Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, Ram Shrivastava, Kayla Jenkins and Lisa Roy Baron for appearing in the film.

Again, enjoy the film, share it with your friends and colleagues. We’d also love to hear your feedback!

GardenAerial is a capital project of Greentopia

NEW GardenAerial Short Film Premiering in October – Check out this Trailer!

We are so grateful to Don Caspar of Epic 10 Films, J.R. Kraus of 57th Street Productions and the entire cast and crew that made our NEW GardenAerial promotional film possible. We’ll be mounting a couple of trailers here in the coming weeks and then premiering the short film at our Greentopia | FUTURES SUMMIT, Cities of the Future at MCC on October 21st. Our cast includes: Bob Duffy, Maggie Brooks, Lovely Warren, Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, Jim Senall, Norm Silverstein, Ram Shrivastava, Lisa Roy Baron, people who work, live and play in High Falls, and our Co-Founders, Lewis Stess and Michael Philipson.

We also captured some VERY sexy drone footage and created a musical score composed especially for the film. The big star is, of course, our magnificent gorge and falls! Enjoy this preview and watch for the full film release on October 21st!

“Aerial” Photo Shoot

“Aerial” Photo Shoot

Tomorrow, we will have our official photographer, Walter Colley, headed up in helicopter to pass over the gorge at High Falls to snap some fantastic pictures of the entire area. We would like to extend an invitation to any and all people to come take a break and be on the Pont de Rennes Bridge at 11:15am to be involved with the fly-over shoot.

If you’re in the area and want to be a part of a great photo-op, please feel free to come check out our first truly “Aerial” adventure!