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December 5, 2012

DDA launches ‘Rochester 100’

Fundraising initiative to support Big, Bright Light Show, new splash pad for 2013

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Rochester may have a new splash pad this summer, thanks to supporters of the Rochester 100 fundraising initiative.

ROCHESTER — The Rochester Downtown Development Authority is hoping to garner support from the community for its latest fundraising initiative, Rochester 100.

The idea behind Rochester 100 is for 100 people, or businesses, to donate $1,000 each — half of which would go to support The Big, Bright Light Show and the other half would go toward a new project downtown each year.

DDA Board member Mark Albrecht said Rochester 100 was ultimately born out of the DDA’s desire to make Rochester more of a destination community.

“We already know The Big, Bright Light Show has put us on the map, and we need to underwrite those costs; that’s part of the Rochester 100. But secondly, and as important, is to continually add different investments in the community,” he said.

DDA Executive Director Kristi Trevarrow said Rochester 100 is both a way to sustain The Big, Bright Light Show and continue to enhance the downtown area.

“Last year, we did the Paint Creek Bridge project, which was fantastic, and now we finished the Main Street Makeover, so everybody is saying, ‘Well, what are you going to do next?’ We’ve been looking around town and, because of the way our town is built, we don’t have a lot of gathering spaces downtown. We have a gorgeous park, which is fantastic, but there is no place to just gather and enjoy downtown because all of our buildings are right on top of each other,” Trevarrow said.

One of the areas the DDA has identified as being underutilized is what was once known as the Depot Plaza — the little triangle piece of land on East University, near Catching Fireflies and Century 21 Sakmar & Associates, where the Christmas tree is.

“We just feel like it’s such an underutilized space, so we looked at that area and we thought about what kind of gathering space we could make it. … One of the ideas that I brought forward for this year was having a splash pad downtown, because we thought that would be something that would activate that space and also something that would be appealing to families, which is a huge market for downtown,” she said.

A splash pad is an area for water play with no standing water. Typically water sprays up from nozzles in the ground or down like a shower from above ground features.

While everyone on the board agreed it was a great idea, they realized they needed support from the community to make it a reality in 2013.

“We need a little bit of buy-in because it’s not something that would be in our budget to just go build a splash pad,” Trevarrow said.

The first brochure for Rochester 100 was included in the latest edition of “InTown” magazine, published just a few weeks ago, and Trevarrow said donations have already started coming in.

“The last person who called me is going to make it a Christmas gift for his children,” she said.

This year, those who take part in Rochester 100 will get their dedication on a recognition plaque at the splash pad, a Big, Bright Light Show membership for 2013, recognition in the next edition of InTown Magazine and will be invited to the splash pad ribbon-cutting this summer.

If the fundraising initiative goes the way DDA officials hope, other projects will be brought forward in the future that might appeal to a different market.

“The first year is really an investment in the children and the families with a splash pad. Future years could be an art mural or different kinds of things to attract different demographics to Rochester,” Albrecht added. “Rochester 100 will continue year in and year out, and we will contribute to put money back into the community to support our merchants and support our families.”

For more information, or to donate, call the DDA at (248) 656-0060

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.