The Beaver County Office of Planning & Development utilized fund from a U.S. EPA Brownfields Coalition grant to support the Borough of Rochester in the redevelopment of centrally located riverfront and how it may connect to its downtown. This project focused heavily on the former Beaver Valley Bowl building, a very visually prominent building along the Ohio River that experienced a significant fire and suffers from environmental conditions that are impeding re-opening the former businesses.
In the Rochester Borough of the early 1900’s, one would find pedestrian, vehicular, and streetcar connections centered around a passenger depot near the center of the study area. With Brighton Avenue as the commercial downtown, the Ohio Riverfront served a mix of uses from residential to industrial. New York Avenue, the connector between Brighton Avenue and the Ohio Riverfront, was an entertainment hub, lined with hotels, theaters, and other uses. Much has changed in Rochester Borough over the past century, most notably the construction of Pennsylvania Route 51/ 65 which was constructed in 1929 and has since been expanded, creating a significant divide between Brighton Avenue and the Rochester Riverfront, eliminating the entertainment hub that once connected the two areas. The monumental Beaver Bowl building, a large vacant structure and local landmark on the Rochester Riverfront, is one of few remaining structures on New York Avenue.
This Redevelopment Plan is both current- and forward-looking, outlining the conditions that exist that necessitate revitalization, redevelopment, and reuse in Rochester’s Ohio Riverfront. It sets out several key redevelopment principles that provide a framework for the recommendations included in the plan, describes the methods and outcomes of public, property owner, and stakeholder engagement around the project, and provides an opinion of probable costs that estimates the costs of implementing the recommendations. The plan also inventories brownfields properties in each targeted reuse area along with the status. Key recommendations include:
- Rochester Riverfront Park Extension – Revitalizing Rochester’s Ohio Riverfront to extend the current Riverfront Park from the confluence of the Ohio and Beaver rivers and add recreational amenities and event space to an underutilized area;
- Beaver Valley Bowl Redevelopment – Redeveloping the Beaver Valley Bowl building into a mixed-use entertainment and recreational venue, with a restaurant, bowling alley, kayak and bicycle rentals, and self-storage facilities;
- Trail Connection Between Downtown Rochester and the Ohio Riverfront – Improving access between Downtown Rochester, the Ohio Riverfront, and the Rochester-Monaca Bridge by shortening the route and adding pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure; and
- Harrison Street Improvements – Transforming the street in front of the Beaver Valley Bowl site into an urban street with new sidewalks, an attractive streetscape, and pedestrian-oriented amenities such as street trees and decorative lighting.