The City of Rochester plans to relocate the Tax and Auto Registration Offices to the Second Floor of the Rochester Community Center, behind Spaulding High School.
Currently located at 19 Wakefield Street, the Tax and Auto Registration Office has been operating out of this location for over twenty years. According to Katie Ambrose, Deputy City Manager and Director of Finance & Administration, the new office will provide improved facilities for customers to conduct business and receive services, “with room to accommodate future growth.”
The current office will be closed and relocated to the Community Center on April 22 and 23, tentatively. The new office is expected to open on Monday, April 26, 2021.
Spurred by the relocation effort, the Community Center has undergone several upgrades and improvements to common spaces. The main halls have been repainted and tile floors have been replaced with a high-traffic vinyl material. In addition to the refurbishments, art has been installed throughout the building, courtesy of the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts.
New building signage and way-finding directories will be installed to make the halls more accessible and easier to navigate.
Michael Riley, Municipal Services Supervisor, has overseen the various renovations and the relocation of the Tax and Auto Registration Office. Riley states that the changes should make “a positive impact on residents and visitors.”
“The Community Center was the High School in the 1970s and 80s and it hasn’t changed much since then,” said Riley. “Aside from regular maintenance and repairs, this is the first time there’s been a significant change to the halls of the building. It’s a big difference.”
In addition to the renovations and way-finding, another significant change will be where visitors and customers enter the building.
The Community Center’s new Main Entrance will now be located on the Wakefield Street side of the building, with 10 parking spaces reserved for Tax and Auto Registration customers. The former Main Entrance will serve the Recreation Department and Gymnasium. New exterior signage will be installed to reflect the changes.
The planned exterior signage inspired another change that aims to permanently recognize an American hero with familial ties to Rochester.
On April 6th, the Rochester City Council moved to rename the Community Center to the James W. Foley Memorial Community Center, to honor freelance war correspondent, journalist, and video reporter, James Foley.
Mayor Caroline McCarley stated that the City Council is “delighted to honor James Foley” and describes him as “a credit to journalism and freedom.”
Diane Foley, mother of James Foley and Founder of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation said “Our entire family is so deeply honored by the City of Rochester to have Jim remembered in such a meaningful way.”
A socially distanced dedication and ribbon cutting is scheduled for May 4th at 5:30 pm.
To learn more about James Foley or the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, visit www.jamesfoleyfoundation.org. For questions or inquires regarding the relocation of the Tax and Auto Registration Office, please contact Katie Ambrose at (603) 335-7505 or Kathryn.Ambrose@rochesternh.net.