Port of Rochester Building Named In Honor of Former Mayor Bill Johnson


Although the air cargo industry represents an estimated 30% of the total worldwide shipment value, transport across the water remains vital to the global economy — even in Rochester. Major remodeling projects happen all the time for commercial, residential, and municipal properties. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 30% of remodeling activities were major alterations and additions, 40% were for minor additions and alterations, and the final 30% of maintenance and repair jobs. For a 30-year period, former Rochester Mayor William A. Johnson Jr helped revamp all kinds of riverfront properties from Lake Ontario to Henrietta. Now, he’s being thanked for his years of hard work — by having the Port of Rochester terminal building re-named in his honor.

According to the Democrat and Chronicle, current Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren stated that the decision to re-name the terminal building was about reclaiming Johnson’s legacy.

“All this is knitted together,” Johnson, who is now 76-years-old. “There is a lot of work that people either were not aware of — or have chosen to forget.”

During the re-naming celebration, Johnson’s family members from three generations, along with friends, peers, and other Rochester citizens, all gathered at the Port of Rochester in Charlotte to hear remarks honoring the 64th Mayor of Rochester.

Council President Loretta C. Scott spoke, along with Johnson’s friends Paul W. Smith, Clayton Osborne, and Senator Joseph Robach.

Though the actual event was filled with laughter, cheers, and celebrations, the online community continually brought up the failed high-speed ferry, which cost taxpayers millions of dollars during Johnson’s tenure.

I’m not ashamed of us or anything that we did,” Johnson added. “We wish that things had turned out better, [but] we still have a vibrant port, and I think that is the positive story here.”

“Today, I am choosing to reclaim his name, his honor, and his legacy, which gave credit to his willingness to tackle a vision that had been shelved for years,” said Warren. “So, Mayor Johnson, I want you, your family, and your friends to know, that 20 years from now, when your great-great-grandchildren come to this place, the plaques and the building that bear your name will hang with pride.”

Prior to his mayoral career, Johnson served for 21 years as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Rochester, responsible for developing and overseeing programs and projects in education, youth development, employment training, affordable housing, and family services. Johnson was first elected in November of 1993 and served as Mayor of Rochester from 1994 until 2005. It was his first run for any political office, succeeding a 20-year incumbent. Johnson was Rochester’s first African-American mayor.