Do you know a Good Neighbor? Nominations open for Celebration of Rochester Neighbors

NeighborWorks® Rochester is organizing its 3rd Annual Celebration of Rochester Neighbors, to be held in June of 2018. The free event will be held at the iconic City of Rochester Public Market, celebrates the great people that make our neighborhoods strong. Volunteers who are making a difference in each of the city’s four quadrants at neighborhood level, as well as one leader in the overall Rochester community will be recognized. City of Rochester residents who exemplify a vision for a better Rochester, who work to better their neighborhood or spark change by engagning others will be considered. Full nomination details are available on the webpage:  https://nwrochester.org/Celebration-of-rochester-neighbors/.  Anyone can nominate a City of Rochester neighbor for consideration! Fill out a nomination form today!

The event will recognize four Community Champions – individuals from each of the four quadrants of the city for their contributions to their community. The Community Leadership Award award, which recognizes volunteer leaders who work to improve the entire community of Rochester.

Celebration of Rochester Neighbors is much like a block party for the entire city. The event will also kick off NeighborWorks® Week in Rochester and will feature live music, food, and children’s activities. Admission to the event is free. NeighborWorks® Rochester, a non-profit organization, builds strong neighborhoods by educating and counseling new homeowners, providing loan services and energy-savings programs to homeowners and targeted neighborhood revitalization through the Healthy Blocks Neighborhood Initiative. Volunteers who wish to help with the event, or local business interested in sponrorship can contact Kelly Hallenbeck, Resource Development Manager at 327-4170, or khallenbeck@nwrochester.org.

Triangle Neighborhood Releases Unique Video Series

The Triangle neighborhood, bordered by Culver, Merchants, and East Main Street, is a unique and vibrant area nestled within larger North Winton Village. The area is known by residents, business owners, and visitors as “rich with Rochester essence and flavor”—architecturally charming yet affordable to first-time homebuyers, walkable and bikeable, and home to Rochester landmarks: the last cobblestone house, James Brown’s Place, and L&M Lanes. This past summer, with support from NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Healthy Blocks initiative and a Pride in Place grant from NeighborWorks® America, the Triangle created three professional-quality neighborhood showcase videos: Home & Community, Relax & Play, and Neighborhood Schools. The videos are the first of their kind to be made by any Rochester neighborhood.

The Home & Community video features both long-time and newer Triangle residents. Zirrus, a Garson Avenue resident, features “diversity, friendliness, and activity” as the three standout qualities of the Triangle. Melville Street dweller Mikey mentions how accepting the neighborhood is compared to other areas in the City, and Joyce from Garson Avenue points out the Triangle’s proximity to “everything we could possibly want”. Walkability and safety are also prominently featured. Check out the video here: www.thetriangleroc.org/community

Relax & Play features local Triangle businesses, both well-known and under-the-radar. James Brown of James Brown’s Place diner, John Savino of Johnny’s Irish Pub, and Gary Stubbings of L&M Lanes give interviews; other staples such as Nino’s Pizzeria, Merchants Grill, and the East Main Salvatore’s (the local chain’s oldest location) also make an appearance. The short film is a great reminder that not only is the Triangle a great place to live, but it is also a destination for visitors looking to eat, drink, and be entertained—from Rochester and beyond! Watch Relax & Play here: www.thetriangleroc.org/merchants

The film about Neighborhood Schools tackles a question often sidestepped in discussions of revitalization in the City of Rochester: is it possible for kids in the Rochester City School District to get a good, competitive education? RocCity Coalition Education Team member Kevin Kelley says yes! The solution is that “people need to be educated…about the quality of [the] options.” While the message remains options—private, public, and charter—the content of the video focuses on two schools proximate to Triangle neighborhood, Frank Fowler Dow School No. 52 and East High School. The film emphasizes the schools’ assets—such as School 52’s strong community and good test scores and East High’s career preparation tracks through the University of Rochester—while also highlighting benefits of the RCSD as a whole, such as scholarships available to the U of R and RIT. Look here: www.thetrianglroc.org/education

In the few months since their release, the videos have already gathered over 4,500 views and received acclaim from a wide variety of organizations, including Celebrate City Living, who are exploring how other neighborhoods can undertake similar projects. All three videos, plus a 30-second trailer, were filmed and edited by videographer Justin Freeman, a North Winton Village resident. Interviews were conducted by Monica Finger, who coordinates NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Healthy Blocks initiative. To learn more about the Triangle, please visit www.thetriangleroc.org or check out their Facebook page for regular updates: www.facebook.com/TriangleofNWV.

First Annual Cobbleween a Smashing Success!

If you’ve spent much time in the Triangle neighborhood, you’ll know that one of its major sources of pride is the last-standing cobblestone house in the City of Rochester, located at Culver Road and Grand Avenue. The house, built in the mid-1800s, suffers from both a mid-19th century addition on the south side (somewhat unattractive) and a large plaza built adjacent on the north side (very unattractive). Nonetheless, although it has been vacant for over a decade, the structural integrity of the cobblestone walls has remained, and so has the neighborhood’s interest in the property’s revitalization. The scoop: the owner is now in conversation with the Landmark Society (who included the property on their 2015 “Five to Revive” list) and a potential developer to rehabilitate and reoccupy the building, perhaps into a mixed-use or commercial gathering space (when last occupied, it was a four-family residential).

Exciting as these developments are, it is no excuse to ignore the property—and its large, paved lot—in the meantime! With support and funding from the Healthy Blocks initiative at NeighborWorks® Rochester, ground was recently broken on the Culver-facing side of the cobblestone for a new public micropark. The space—which will feature a seating area, trees, and low-maintenance perennials and shrubs in addition to a large grassy area—will serve both as a face-lift on the Culver Road streetscape and a resting and gathering place that improves the overall walk-ability of this gateway artery through the Triangle and Beechwood neighborhoods.

House and park aside, what better way to gather the neighborhood around the property in a positive way than a holiday where families are already outside en masse regardless of weather—Halloween, of course! The first annual Cobbleween, originally invented as a playful nod to the “zombie” condition of the house, happened October 31st 2017 from 6-8 PM and was a huge success. Cobbleween, planned and executed by the Triangle neighborhood group with support from Healthy Blocks, featured music, decorations, pumpkin painting, face painting, free donuts, cider, and coffee, the Rochester Mounted Police, outside games, a costume photo booth, giveaways, and tons of candy! Businesses and organizations from within and outside the Triangle pitched in to make in-kind donations, including Lowe’s, Mayer Cider Mill, St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church, Donuts DeLite, Elite House of Hair Fashions, New City Café, NeighborWorks® Rochester, the Landmark Society, Broccolo Tree & Lawn, Merchants Grill, and the Healthi Kids Coalition. For more great pictures from the event and to follow what’s happening in the Triangle Neighborhood, follow the Triangle Facebook Page.

 

United Way Day of Caring – Volunteers Rock!

NeighborWorks Rochester was thrilled to be a host site again for this year’s Day of Caring event sponsored by the United Way of Greater Rochester! For the third straight year, the Harris Corporation sent a team of

Harris Corporation team
Harris Corporation team

volunteers to our not-for-profit organization. Once again, this incredible team was extremely helpful in tackling many building and yard projects, making our organization look it’s best for our customers, neighbors, and partners. Led by Dana Colbert, the group spent time weeding and spreading mulch throughout our entire property. They patched parking lot potholes, cleaned windows and appliances, and also did some painting for us. No project was too grimy or gritty for them, and they did it all with a smile! We look forward to seeing them every year!! Some of our NeighborWorks staff worked side-by-side with the Harris team, while others tackled large projects indoors! I can’t thank The Harris Corporation and NeighborWorks Rochester Teams enough for beautify our landscape inside and out!

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Celebration of Rochester Neighbors Winners!

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These wonderful neighbors are the winners of the 2016 Celebration of Rochester Neighbors Awards. Visit the 2017 page for information on this year’s event.

SouthWest Quadrant Community Champion 

Ms. Bessie Clifton, a founding member of the Cottage Street Block Club, is the Rochester Neighbors Community Champion Award winner for the Southwest Quadrant. Bessie Clifton croppedAt 88 years old, she remains an active advocate and participant in her neighborhood. Ms. Clifton has been a member of the Plymouth Exchange Neighborhood Association for 25 years and is also a member of the South Plymouth Avenue Business Association. In addition, she walks her neighborhood as a member of PAC-TAC and is often seen cleaning up litter on area streets. Two projects with which Ms. Clifton is closely involved are the Legacy Garden and the Legacy Park Station, sponsored by the Cottage St. Block Club. She helps plant and maintain the community garden that provides fresh vegetables for neighbors, and she provided input and historical information and continues to fundraise for the Legacy Park Station. On the “Street Voices” program on Rochester Free Radio 106.3 fm, Ms. Clifton provided listeners with more history and memories about life in Rochester. Described as resilient with a “youthful spirit,” she continues to inspire her southwest neighbors.

NorthEast Quadrant Community Champion

Vera Crumpler, organizer of the Citywide Youth Crusade, is the Rochester Neighbors Community Champion Award winner for the Northeast Quadrant. Carlos Santana of Action for a Better Community nominated Mrs. Crumpler calling her “a highly committed advocate for the less fortunate” in Rochester’s northeast through efforts that span nearly 50 years. She has tackled community issues of housing, injustice, public safety, employment and youth while sitting on the boards of various associations: Coalition of the North East Area (CONEA,) North East Block Club Alliance (NEBCA,) Sector 10, and North East Neighbors Association (NENA.) In addition, she gives her time to other local events when asked. Her 30-year involvement with the Citywide Youth Crusade includes organizing rallies in which public officials, police officers, clergy, lecturers and neighbors with positive messages are invited to speak. In an effort to keep the dialogue moving forward, Mrs. Crumpler continues to hold the events at her own expense and without compensation. Santana adds that Mrs. Crumpler displays “a caring, loving heart toward everybody she meets, without distinction,” treating everyone with respect and compassion regardless of age or ethnic background, making her a true role model and champion.

NorthWest Quadrant Community Champion

Described as a “quiet champion” for Charlotte, Pamela Postgate is the Rochester Neighbors Community Champion Award winner for the Northwest Quadrant. After moving to Stutson Street eight years ago, Ms. Postgate organized the Stutson Street Block Club and Charlotte Beach Clean-ups. Her most recent community project has been spearheading the Lakeside Farmers Market. Ms. Postgate organized the group of neighbors to put it together, then hosted meetings, sought out sponsors and vendors, and locally publicized it. After a successful first year in 2015, the market will open this month for a second year.

SouthEast Quadrant Community Champion

Aaron and Kelly Metras, winners of the Rochester Neighbors Community Champion Award for the Southeast Quadrant, are parents, entrepreneurs and community advocates. Their restaurants, Selena’s Mexican Restaurant and Nox Cocktail Lounge, are located in Village Gate Square. Aaron has served as the president of the Neighborhood of the Arts Business Association (NOTABA) for the past five years. According to the Southeast Quadrant Team, who nominated the couple for this award, they have volunteered much time and energy into building NOTABA into “one of the most successful and influential business associations in the City of Rochester.” Their popular Mexican restaurant, Selena’s, reaches out to causes beyond the southeast and sponsors the Monarch Butterfly Display at the Seneca Park Zoo, an important program to the growth and migration of monarch butterflies. Selena’s also sends a team to the annual Polar Bear Plunge which benefits the Special Olympics of Western New York. Last year the team raised $8,000. The latest project for the Metras is the Rochester Youth Culinary Experience, or RYCE. They are endeavoring to start a third restaurant, this one built around an immersion experience for youth interested in the restaurant business. Students will participate in all aspects of creating and operating a working restaurant with guidance from a management team. Their vision is to assist youth in acquiring skills and experience that will assist them in gaining employment or continuing their culinary education. The Southeast Quadrant Team notes that the couple is always “thinking outside of the box” for ways to move the neighborhood forward.

 

Community Leader Award

Ericka Jones, a Systems Advocate at the Center for Disability Rights, has been selected to receive the Community Leader Award for her work in improving accessibility. Ms. Jones has been instrumental in two city issues that have been vital to people with disabilities. As the leader of the Center’s Transportation Action Group (TAG,) she organized and empowered group members to contest the closing of several inner-city bus stops used by people with disabilities. She coordinated the campaign and utilized the media to voice concerns. The group’s efforts resulted in many of the stops remaining on the routes. Ms. Jones also worked on another issue important to all city dwellers: the amendment of a City of Rochester ordinance to keep the sidewalks clear during the winter. She attended neighborhood association meetings and organized a group of people with disabilities to make their voices heard at City Council meetings. The new ordinance passed, and city sidewalks will be more accessible for all residents during the winter from now on. She is an advocate in other areas, also, as a member of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley and participant in the Rochester-Monroe County Anti-Poverty Initiative.  A group of 15 people with disabilities that she gathered participated in Rochester’s Clean Sweep program. Stephanie Woodward, Director of Advocacy at CDR, nominated Ms. Jones for this award, saying she has “inspired others to get involved,” that she sets an “incredible xample” for people with disabilities, and has motivated more people with disabilities “to become active and involved in our city.”

Celebration of Rochester Neighbors

LOGO RectangleCome join us as we celebrate the great people that make our neighborhoods strong, on Monday,  June 6th from 5:00PM to 7:00PM at the Rochester Public Market. The event is called Celebration of Rochester Neighbors and will recognize volunteers who are making a difference at the neighborhood level, as well as leaders in the Rochester community. Like a city-wide block party, the event will feature live music, food and a chance to have fun with neighbors from throughout the city.

Rochester is a great place to live because of the caring, invested people who live in it. We want to celebrate those individuals and the neighborhoods that make up our city and kick off NeighborWorks® Week here in Rochester.

Celebration of Rochester Neighbors is supported by contributions from JP Morgan Chase, First Niagara Bank, Lamar Advertising, Greater Rochester Association of Realtors, Your Care Health Plan and Northwest Bank. Participants include food trucks from Marty’s Meats, Hot Rosita’s and The Daily Refresher, with live music provided by the Bureau Cats. Neighborhood Association and Block Clubs will also be there to share what it is that makes their part of #ROC a great place to live.

Tickets are $10 each (children under 13 are free) and available at NeighborWorks® Rochester or online at https://celebrationofrocneighbors.eventbrite.com. All proceeds from the event will allow NeighborWorks® Rochester to continue to build strong neighborhoods by educating and counseling new homeowners, providing resources to homeowners turned away by traditional lenders, energy-savings programs and targeted neighborhood revitalization through the Healthy Blocks Neighborhood Initiative.

NeighborWorks® Rochester Proud to be Part of Solarize the Flower City Campaign

RocSpot logoROCSPOT, an organization devoted to the implementation of solar technology to create jobs and reduce poverty in Rochester, announced today that that Solarize the Flower City 2016 is one of 31 Solarize campaigns across the State beginning this spring. Solarize the Flower City 2016 will kick off with a launch event on March 20, where local and state leaders will come together to celebrate with ROCSPOT, NeighborWorks® Rochester and other partners, and the local community. Governor Cuomo announced the program awards on February 19, funded through Community Solar NY, a NYSERDA program.
As a component of the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy and NY-Sun program, Community Solar NY makes implementing solar easier and more affordable by supporting locally-organized community outreach aimed at getting a critical mass of area homes and businesses to install solar and obtain competitive pricing, thereby lowering the cost. Historically, Solarize campaigns lower the cost of solar 10 to 20 percent.
Solarize the Flower City 2016 will be selecting designated solar installers using a thorough pre-qualification process. Residents and businesses who sign up for solar installations by September 15, 2016, will be able to take advantage of group rates below market prices. The more customers who sign up, the lower the price will be for everyone.
“New York is blazing the trail when it comes to transitioning to sustainable energy practices and building a clean energy economy,” said Governor Cuomo. “By helping communities across the state install solar technologies, we are opening the door to new opportunities that will lower household energy costs while protecting the environment years into the future.” “I am proud to partner with ROCSPOT and support the Solarize the Flower City Campaign,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “The citizens of Rochester are committed to protecting the environment and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Developing more sustainable and more affordable methods of energy production through solar power will play a critical role in that effort and help us create more jobs, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and provide all of our children with a quality education.” “More so now than ever before, the Finger Lakes Region is on the cutting edge of green and renewable energy development, with solar technology being an important part of the equation,” said Senator Rich Funke (R-C-I, Fairport). “I thank ROCSPOT, NYSERDA, and all partners involved in Solarize the Flower City for helping to make solar generation more affordable and accessible for both residents and employers alike across our community.”
Maureen Murphy, Executive Director of NeighborWorks® Rochester said: “NeighborWorks® Rochester is excited to be a partner in the Solarize the Flower City 2016 campaign. Increasing Rochester’s solar capacity, and decreasing household energy usage, will help to reposition our community both by supporting households struggling to meet energy costs, as well as neighborhoods looking to become more sustainable”.
Additional partners and participants include NYSERDA, the Town of Brighton and the Town of Irondequoit.
Solarize the Flower City 2016 is supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative as well as the City of Rochester, through the New York Power Authority (NYPA) Five Cities Energy Plan program. Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun will invest up to $1 billion in solar power through 2023 to significantly expand solar installations across the State, ultimately transforming New York’s solar industry to become self-sustaining. The City of Rochester is investing over $800,000 from the NYPA Five Cities program for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, positioning itself as a leader in climate change mitigation and adaptation.