City of Rochester
(Monday, March 5, 2012) – The University of Rochester was awarded a grant that will help update the City’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) and build on the waterfront’s contributions to community health.
The grant was awarded by The Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Health Impact Project is a leading national initiative dedicated to promoting the use of health impact assessments in the United States. The University’s proposal was one of 15 selected following a nationwide call for submissions.
The $124,940 grant will allow the University of Rochester Environmental Health Sciences Center, along with the support of local architecture firm Clark Patterson Lee, to conduct a Health Impact Assessment (HIA). HIAs are a type of study that looks at the potential health impact of policies and projects in other sectors. HIAs help policy makers and communities take a broad look at the impacts of a decision, which can help avoid unintended consequences and maximize benefits.
“Rochester’s waterfront is one of its greatest assets. We are excited about assessing the current and potential future health implications of activities in the waterfront area,” said Katrina Smith Korfmacher, Director of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core of the Environmental Health Sciences Center. “We hope this effort will help promote future development and uses that will benefit the health of Rochester’s communities.”
The health-related issues the University’s HIA will address and analyze include, for example, air and water pollution, fish contamination and opportunities for improved waterfront access and physical activity. This information will be used to help update the City’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, which includes the Genesee River north from the Erie Canal to Lake Ontario, the Port of Rochester and areas of the city along Durand Eastman Beach. The LWRP will examine all waterfront areas in the city and develop general and specific recommendations that address the current state coastal policies and the City’s own set of identified issues and priorities based on analysis and community input. The LWRP boundary includes a wide range of city neighborhoods and populations as well as a broad spectrum of waterfront development uses.
The use of waterways affects community health in many ways. The HIA will help clarify these health implications, analyze health impacts on diverse populations and help decision makers understand how to maximize the positive health impacts of water resource related decisions while minimizing negative effects on the health of Rochester’s communities.
While the HIA will help inform the City on health implications of the waterfront uses, the University hopes it will demonstrate how health assessment can contribute to decision making in other sectors – such as land use, education, and economic development.
The project will run through June 20, 2013.
Media Contact: For more information, contact Katrina Korfmacher at (585) 273-4304 and Tom Rickey at 275-7954.