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In First Omnibus As Majority Leader, Schumer Delivers BIG For Rochester-Finger Lakes; Funding Dozens Of Community Led Projects

Schumer Backed Projects Will Breathe New Life Into Rochester’s Neighborhoods; Ibero-American Equitable Home Ownership Program Will Reverse Rochester’s Legacy Of Redlining 

Senator Secures Funding To Finally Transform Historic Synagogue On Joseph Avenue Into New Performing Art Center For Community 

Schumer: Community Projects Will Lay The Foundation For Rochester’s Future 

Standing outside the former Synagogue on Joseph Avenue, a crumbling Rochester landmark, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that following his tirelessly advocacy he has secured over $200 million for the Rochester-Finger Lakes region through the bipartisan omnibus spending package for Fiscal Year 2022 for funding cutting edge research and dozens of community led projects, including significant funding secured in conjunction with Representative Joe Morelle. During his visit, Schumer revealed two long held community priorities that now thanks to his backing, will finally be able to come to fruition: the Ibero-American Development Corporation (IADC) Equitable Home Ownership Program and the Joseph Avenue Arts & Cultural Alliance’s Center for Performing and Visual Arts. The senator said that these projects will help revitalize one of Rochester’s most underserved neighborhoods and help reverse decades of disinvestment by spurring economic growth in these communities.

“This is BIG news for Rochester. These community led projects will revitalize Northeast Rochester breaking down the legacy of housing discrimination to empower a new generation to purchase homes, create a sense of community, and finally build the long dreamed new Performing Art center to anchor development for this historically underserved neighborhood,” said Senator Schumer. “The over $200 million for the Rochester-Finger Lakes region I secured in the bipartisan spending package means jobs, new economic opportunity, bridging the digital divide, and that critical community projects like these finally get the funding they deserve.”

The historic Synagogue on Joseph Avenue has sat abandoned for years, and the community has long tried to transform this once widely used building back into a community gathering space for Northeast Rochester, but has lacked the funding to fulfill this dream. The Joseph Avenue Arts & Cultural Alliance (JAACA) has led the efforts to save this 94-year old landmark building from ruin and for over 7 years has attempted to raise the capital to transform the site into a new Center for Performing and Visual Arts to anchor the community, and now Schumer said that with the $400,000 he secured construction can finally begin. The Center for Performing and Visual Arts, once completed, will be a $3.3 million, 11,000 square-foot facility, home to world-class music, dance, theater, and educational opportunities for families and children throughout Rochester, free of charge—transforming lives and creating a permanent home for the arts in the historically underserved Northeast section of Rochester. Schumer said that this will serve as an economic anchor for the community, not only creating jobs, but spurring new economic growth for the neighborhood.

Schumer also highlighted the $400,000 he delivered for the Ibero-American Development Corporation (IADC) Equitable Home Ownership Program. Schumer explained that this program would address decades of housing discrimination and systemic barriers preventing homeownership by empowering underserved neighborhoods and residents, like those in Northeast Rochester, with financial backing and education to rehabilitate and purchase homes. Specifically, the program will provide homebuyers access to alternative non-traditional lending, like through the Rochester Land Bank Corporation’s Partnership Program, to finance the purchase of homes in their communities. The program will also create a new home repair grant program to provide buyers up to $4,000 for rehabilitation and will also provide them access to the Rochester’s owner-occupant rehabilitation grant for additional assistance. In addition, leaders in the program plan to provide up to two years of individualized counseling and education to remove any financial barriers to qualify for purchase and ensure participants in the program have all the tools to succeed. Schumer said that the IADC initiative also compliments others he has delivered federal funding for like Rochester’s “Buy the Block” program, which is was made possible through $13 million of American Rescue Plan relief the senator delivered, that will construct 100 new single family houses for eligible first-time homebuyers in previously red-lined sections of the city. 

Dr. Neil R. Scheier, Board President Joseph Avenue Arts and Culture Alliance (JAACA) said, “The two grants announced today put Rochester and its Northeast Quadrant in front of the world as a place not just of words but of action.  It now falls to the two organizations -- Ibero and the Joseph Avenue Arts and Culture Alliance -- to carry forth the plan of action -- but we are ready and able.  Thank you Senator Schumer for helping us to make the Center for Performing and Visual Arts happen"

Angelica Perez-Delgado, President & CEO, Ibero-American Action League said, “Ibero is excited about the prospects of providing increased resources and education to first-time homebuyers and homeowners in our community. We firmly believe that removing barriers and creating equitable pathways to home ownership is a vital part of our mission and appreciate Senator Schumer’s work to secure this vital funding.”

“I’m thrilled that these investments will help revitalize one of Rochester’s most historic neighborhoods and the many families who call it home, breathing new life into the Joseph Avenue corridor,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “It has been a privilege to work alongside Majority Leader Schumer and partner with him to uplift families and strengthen the future of Monroe County. I’m proud of the funding we secured in the federal appropriations package that will facilitate more exciting projects like this, and I look forward to our continued work together to deliver for Rochester families.”

“The Rochester programs that will benefit from these funds all have the common theme of working to reverse poverty and delivering long overdue equity to the people who live in our city’s most impoverished neighborhoods,” said Mayor Malik D. Evans. “I want to thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressman Morelle for delivering these funds to our city and sending a loud and clear message that these neighborhoods are forgotten no more.”

Schumer said that the over $200 million he delivered for the Rochester-Finger Lakes region in the federal budget also includes major funding he secured with Rep. Joe Morelle and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for some of Rochester’s biggest research institutions and employers including $83 million for the OMEGA Laser Facility at Rochester Laser Labs to continue critical research integral for national and global security and the future of energy. The bill also includes $88.5 million for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at RIT, an increase of $7 million above the enacted FY21 level. Schumer said that this funding allows NTID to give students skills and training, as well as invest in critical areas such as sign language, and captioning services.

Dr. Gerard Buckley, NTID President & RIT Vice President and Dean said, “Thanks to the leadership and advocacy of Sen. Schumer, Sen. Gillibrand, and Rep. Morelle, Congress has once again recognized the value of an NTID education with this increase. This historic investment will allow us to establish a hub for deaf and hard-of-hearing scientists and health care practitioners, enhance our efforts to provide cybersecurity training to deaf and hard-of-hearing professionals, and bolster our work in STEM-related pre-college outreach through our Regional STEM Center.”

In addition to the above projects, Schumer, Morelle and Gillibrand secured $1,175,000 for three other projects in the City of Rochester:

  • $225,000 for the City of Rochester to bolster its mental health crisis and intervention response services with new needed support equipment.
  • $200,000 for the Urban League of Rochester to bolster an entrepreneurship and business development program to provide support minority business startups, dislocated workers, economically disadvantaged individual and underserved communities.
  • $750,000 for the Foodlink food bank to increase capacity to safely store and distribute more fresh vegetables, fruits, dairy and lean protein to hunger relief partners.

Schumer also personally delivered nearly $30 million in community led projects across Rochester and the Finger Lakes. These projects include:

  • $1.5 million for RIT to work for the U.S. Marine Corps on extending the life of military vehicles and equipment, supporting local jobs
  • $5 million to fund work between Rochester-based Cerion Nanomaterials to work with the U.S. Army to develop and scale solutions needed to meet the Army’s advanced material needs.
  • $15 million for Xerox to partner with the Navy’s Consortium for Additive Manufacturing R&D to help the Navy advancing additive manufacturing research, specifically 3D printing, which has the potential to dramatically transform the way the military supplies its forward-deployed forces.  The project will focus on Xerox’s cutting-edge 3-D printers called “ElemX Liquid Metal Printer” that are being developed by  Xerox’s Rochester, NY workforce at their Webster, NY campus
  • $500,000 to fund the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Great Lakes Resiliency Study to develop a blueprint to safeguard Lake Ontario towns, communities, and homeowners
  • $44,000 for BluePrint Geneva to open a community kitchen and pay-what-you-can-cafe that focuses on dignity and choice in the provision of healthy food options in Geneva's USDA-designated food desert.
  • $1.5 million to enable L3Harris’ Rochester workforce to supply special operations tactical communications systems the Special Operations Forces Tactical Communications (USSOCOM)
  • $900,000 for the G.L.O.W. YMCA in Batavia to construct a Healthy Living Campus.
  • $3,877,500 to deploy a wireless broadband network across Orleans and Niagara Counties.
  • $105,000 to the Hornell Area YMCA to upgrade the equipment of the new Dansville YMCA branch.
  • $379,432 for the Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Orleans County to construct a rural community response learning center.
  • $1,966,000 for the Town of Seneca Falls – Pump station and wastewater infrastructure improvements.
  • $640,000 for the Village of Dundee in Yates County to replace their aged municipal water tank and make control system upgrades.
  • $180,000 for Newark-Wayne Community Hospital to added new healthcare and defibrillator equipment.

Schumer was joined by: Congressman Joe Morelle; City of Rochester Mayor Malik Evans; Dr. Neil Scheier, Board President for the Joseph Avenue Arts and Culture Alliance; Angelica Perez-Delgado, President and CEO of the Ibero-American Action League; Sherman Dickerson, President of the Joseph Avenue Business Association; Rochester City Councilmember Michael Patterson, Mercedes Vasquez-Simmons, Monroe County Legislator for the 22nd District; Dr. Seanelle Hawkins, President and CEO of the Urban League of Rochester; Dr. Gerry Buckley NTID President and RIT Vice President and Dean, Dr. Shirley J.A. Green, Commissioner for the City of Rochester Department of Recreation and Human Services; Chris Harris, RIT Director of Community Relations, Reenah Golden, Founder, CEO & Artistic Director of The Avenue Blackbox Theatre, Mike Marsh, Executive Director Baden Street Settlement, and representatives on behalf of State Senator Jeremy Cooney and Assemblymember Demond Meeks.