Downtown Development Talk Focuses on Preparing for the Future

Feb 2, 2016
Originally published on February 2, 2016 4:48 pm

Developers in Rochester say the region is poised for residential and economic growth, but that there needs to be a plan for filling positions that will open up.

Heidi Zimmer-Meyer is the President of Rochester Downtown Development Corporation, so it makes sense that she'd seem optimistic about downtown development in the city.

But Zimmer-Meyer says her job wasn't always so upbeat.

"The region and the center of the city have turned a corner after decades and decades of decline."

At a talk as part of a lecture series at Rochester Public Library, Zimmer-Meyer said the biggest challenge is not whether downtown will grow residentially and economically, but whether the region is ready to meet the demand for the work it will create.

"We've got to have the feeder system ready so that people can scale up their companies to meet a growing demand. And where we run out of people, in our colleges and in our community, we're going to have to be able to attract people to jobs from outside."

Zimmer-Meyer says it's something Rochester has never had to do before, but if the region doesn't have the infrastructure in place it will halt all the projected growth in the region.

She says people like Anne Kress, president of Monroe Community College, are playing an important role in building a future workforce.