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.

 

NeighborWorks® Rochester Chosen for Pilot Health Study

Mom and daughterNeighborWorks® Rochester actively remains current on trends and research in the field of community development through specific Community Initiatives, including the intersection of housing and health. According to the Healthcare Intelligence Network, “Evidence is mounting that social determinants of health—social, economic and environmental factors that impact quality of life—significantly influence population health. Research published by Brigham Young University in 2015 determined that the social determinants of loneliness and social isolation pose as great a threat to longevity as obesity. Cognizant of the need to promote social and physical environments conducive to optimal health, more than two-thirds of healthcare organizations now assess populations for social determinants of health (SDOH) as part of ongoing care management.”[1]

Because of attention focused on health outcomes both from community partners and from funders, it is increasingly necessary for community development organizations to demonstrate that their programming makes an impact on the SDOH of their target populations in a way that measurably improves health outcomes over time. With support from organizations including the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, Enterprise Community Partners and NeighborWorks® America launched a Health Outcomes Demonstration Pilot in order to “build organizations’ capacity to evaluate the health outcomes of their work through a national cohort, building the body of evidence demonstrating housing and community development’s contribution to improved health outcomes.”[2] Only 20 organizations were awarded the opportunity to participate, which includes technical assistance, grant support, peer-to-peer learning, and most importantly, access to a comprehensive set of data collection tools that were developed and tested by Success Measures to measure health outcomes of programs and initiatives on the populations they serve.

NeighborWorks® Rochester was awarded a slot in the Pilot to evaluate Healthy Blocks, its creative neighborhood-strengthening initiative that makes a five-year commitment to a neighborhood (in this case, the Triangle) in transition with the goals of improving property conditions, resident engagement, and neighborhood image. Healthy Blocks staff worked with a consultant to develop an evaluation that focuses on the SDOH upon which the projects, events, and other elements of Healthy Blocks have the most direct effect; namely, social cohesion (community efficacy, inter-resident trust, participation, etc.). The Healthy Blocks initiative is a more complicated endeavor to evaluation compared with other service-providing programs that have more direct and specific contact and service delivery to participants. Because the initiative is designed to work in tandem with market forces and measures its success based resident satisfaction, block conditions, and rising home values (all of which have a wide variety of confounding variables), it is with caution that we attribute improvements in health outcomes to the work directly done by Healthy Blocks. However, in an effort to evaluate the initiative as accurately as possible, our target population consists of Triangle neighborhood residents who have been directly involved in at least one HB-sponsored activity or reside in a geographical location immediately surrounding our existing or planned public streetscape improvements.

[1] Abstract from “Social Determinants of Health in 2017: Scarcity of Supportive Services Hampers SDOH Linkages” 2017 Healthcare Intelligence Network <http://www.hin.com/library/registerSocialHealthDeterminants2017.html>

[2] Excerpt from Health Outcomes Demonstration Project Q&A Webinar, presented 12 September 2016 Enterprise Community Partners https://www.enterprisecommunity.org/resources/national-health-outcomes-demonstration-project-qa-webinar-1-18246, emphasis added