Corn Hill Navigation recently launched a process to receive input from local and regional leaders to ensure the best business plan possible that will bring a new education, science and tourism boat on the Genesee River in downtown Rochester.
CHN started analyzing the prospects of returning a boat downtown in 2016. Its board of directors recently approved the downtown concept. The board is entering the final planning phases, which includes meeting with public, private and education sector leaders to ensure the right vessel is selected to meet market and partner needs.
CHN leaders realized that residents and visitors to downtown Rochester and the investment that is bringing businesses provided an opportunity for reconnecting these efforts with the Genesee River, which powered Rochester’s early growth.
“Rochester is poised to be a vibrant city with a thriving, authentic core,” said Elizabeth Teall, CHN board chairman. “Currently, very little of the development effort or revitalization discussion includes the Genesee River, which is literally the heart of the city. Corn Hill Navigation is primed to play a pivotal role in connecting downtown with the river that runs through it. After you’ve viewed Rochester from the center of the Genesee River, no other vista quite matches up. Right now the public has no access to the river south of the Court Street Dam. CHN is committed to providing that access once again, as we did with the Mary Jemison.”
CHN previously owned and operated the Mary Jemison, a boat that navigated the Genesee River near downtown Rochester for several years until its decommissioning in 2014.
The board hired consulting firm Valeo PR in 2016 to lead a process for reintroducing a vessel on the Genesee River in downtown Rochester. The new ship will join the Sam Patch, which is stationed on the Erie Canal in Pittsford. The new vessel will offer residents, local students and visitors the chance to view Rochester from a different perspective, learn the history of the city and river, book private events and perform citizen science.
“We are finalizing a business plan for the new boat and decided it was critical to secure input from key stakeholders to ensure that the vessel chosen reflects the wants and needs of the local marketplace,” said LJ Fisher, CHN executive director. “Valeo will roll this critical feedback into a final business plan that allows us to make an informed decision on the right watercraft that drives local resident and tourist interest, is financially sustainable and embarks on its first cruise within the next few years.”
The new vessel will depart from the Corn Hill neighborhood, where CHN maintains a commercial vessel dock space.