Schumer personally called on Commerce Secretary Raimondo to champion the award to strengthen Rochester’s tourism economy and spur their economic recovery
Schumer created an EDA tourism grant in the US bailout with projects like The Strong’s in Mind; New funding builds on $16.5 million senator secured in 2013 to fill Rochester Inner Loop East, enabling massive expansion of Strong Museum
Schumer: EDA’s investment in the Strong Museum in Rochester is a win-win solution, generating millions in new tourism revenue, creating jobs and strengthening the local economy
Following his direct advocacy for Rochester, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester has been awarded a $7.5 million grant as part of of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) American Rescue Plan (ARP) Competitive Tourism Program. Schumer said this grant is the final piece of the puzzle in a massive expansion to create the Gaming District, a new home for the World Video Game Hall of Fame, a Digital Gaming Hub, and more. In March, Schumer personally called Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to advocate for Strong’s grant application and said this new federal funding will now create more than 120 new jobs, nearly double the museum’s attendance. , and is expected to generate over $160 million in annual tourism revenue. for the Finger Lakes region.
“The economic revitalization of downtown Rochester just got stronger thanks to this major boost from the federal government. The Strong National Museum of Play is an economic anchor, and this $7.5 million investment is the final piece of the puzzle to complete its expansion, creating hundreds of new high-paying jobs, producing more than $160 million dollars a year in new tourism revenue and attracting visitors from everywhere. the world to our downtown stores and businesses,” said Senator Schumer. “When I included this tourism grant program in the US bailout, I had innovative projects like the Strong Museum in Rochester in mind, which is why I personally called Secretary Raimondo to secure this funding for a vibrant new community space for all to enjoy This project is truly transformational and the future of downtown Rochester has never looked stronger.
“The Strong’s expansion and the Neighborhood of Play project will nearly double museum attendance to approximately one million, attracting hundreds of thousands of additional guests from outside the Finger Lakes region each year. We are proud that despite a global pandemic, we will be able to complete the project as originally planned with the inner loop redevelopment in 2015.“said Steve Dubnik, President and CEO of the Strong National Museum of Play.. “Senator Schumer’s successful advocacy with the Economic Development Administration and the Department of Commerce means we will see this vital project for downtown Rochester through to completion. We thank the senator for his continued efforts for Rochester and for the Strong National Museum of Play and for securing these critical US bailout funds for this transformative project.
Schumer said this $7.5 million grant from the EDA will unlock the true economic development potential of downtown Rochester neighborhoods and provide critical funding needed to build the final phase of the expansion of the museum. Specifically, the EDA grant will help fund Phase 2 of the museum’s expansion, which includes construction of the Digital Worlds exhibit, outdoor plaza and common areas, and game exhibit. outside. With this expansion, attendance at The Strong is expected to nearly double from 600,000 to nearly 1,000,000, making it one of the nation’s busiest museums and attracting visitors to downtown Rochester from around the world. entire. The grant is needed for critical components of the project that will serve as conduits between the museum and the surrounding Rochester neighborhood. The EDA’s investment would serve as a vital infusion of funds to complete this project and bring people and economic activity back to downtown Rochester, quickly reviving the city’s downtown and local economy as we are coming out of the pandemic. The expansion of The Strong is the catalyst for the creation of the larger New Gaming District, a transformational urban development that reinvigorates downtown Rochester while stimulating broader economic development.
Schumer explained that the tourism grant program that Strong has received funding is part of a $750 million reserve to support the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation economy that he has secured in part of the $3 billion US bailout for the Economic Development Administration. (EDA). This funding also builds on the huge pandemic relief Senator Schumer has provided to New York’s live music, museums and cultural venues, including more than $28 million to the Finger Lakes. The Strong Museum also received more than $2.2 million in 2021 from the Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venues Operator Grant (SVOG), a program Schumer led to create to provide critical federal relief to cultural institutions. like Strong to help them survive and recover from the pandemic.
The Strong’s expansion is made possible through Schumer’s longtime efforts to provide federal funding to complete Rochester’s inner loop. In 2013, after in-person appeals to both transportation secretaries LaHood and Foxx, Schumer was successful in securing a $16.5 million TIGER grant to complete the inner loop. Filling the Inner Loop has removed a huge hurdle that had held back investment for decades and has now allowed the Strong Museum to continue its current $70 million expansion in downtown Rochester.
A copy of Schumer’s original letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo appears below:
Dear Secretary Raimondo:
I am pleased to write in support of the Strong National Museum of Play’s application to the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Rescue Plan Grant Program.
With funding, the Strong National Museum of Play will complete the final phase of a 90,000 square foot expansion, the anchor and catalyst for transformational urban development and tourism destination, the Neighborhood of Play (NoP) – in particular, the investment will finance a suite of dynamic new exhibitions and a large plaza and common area. Together, these components will attract and welcome hundreds of thousands of new tourists each year from across the country and around the world.
Prior to the expansion, The Strong’s marketing and advertising was limited to the NY Finger Lakes area. Despite this limited radius, the museum attracts 30% of its annual attendance (nearly 600,000 in 2019) outside the region. Extensive market research conducted in 2015 and reconfirmed in 2021 showed that by expanding marketing efforts to metropolitan areas within a four-hour drive (such as Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Toronto), The Strong’s expansion will attract 400,000 additional people from outside the region to Rochester, bringing annual attendance to nearly one million within three years, resulting in major and sustainable economic development.
I applaud the Strong National Museum of Play for its foresight and sincerely hope that the nomination meets with your approval.
Thanks for your consideration.