2019 Celebration of Rochester Neighbors

Celebration of Rochester Neighbors Award Winners Announced

NeighborWorks® Rochester and the City of Rochester is thrilled to announce the winners of its Celebration of Rochester Neighbors Awards. The awards will be distributed on Monday, June 3rd from 5:00PM to 7:30PM at the City of Rochester Public Market. 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.

Northwest Quadrant Community Champion: Barb Ann Kupiec is a long-time resident of the Maplewood Neighborhood who has dedicated her retirement years to improving the neighborhood. As a Master Gardener, Barb Ann generously shares her expertise by leading a team of volunteers as Chair of the Maplewood Gardening team. Together they maintain public garden areas, planters and trees along Dewey Avenue. Additionally, Barb serves on the Maplewood Neighborhood Assoc. Board of Directors as Board Secretary. She has served on both the Maplewood Public Safety Committee and the Zoning Committee. Barb Ann is also involved with taking care of feral cats in the neighborhood. According to her nominator, Enrica Fleming, “Barb Ann invests most of her time, energy and talent to help improve the physical appearance of the neighborhood, helping to stabilize it and attract new property owners, when she could have chosen a leisurely retirement. She is truly a wonderful example of what each of us can do for our community.” Barb Ann also volunteers her time as a Master Gardener throughout the county, cultivating plantings and maintaining gardens at many county parks.

Southwest Quadrant Community Champion :  John DeMott is described as very serious about the betterment of his community, and also very friendly and kindhearted. Some of his community involvement includes assisting with the weekly farmer’s market in the summer, and engaging residents, businesses and students to beautify the community with flowers and plantings along the street. He was also influential in the birth of the Brooks Landing development. As a musician, John often donates his time to provide music and entertainment to the community, including organizing an event called Beats @Brooks to provide music for residents of the Southwest neighborhoods. John is a firm believer in supporting local businesses, with a true desire to see them succeed. John was nominated by John Demps along with a long list of others, who stated, “John is proactive in getting things done in the neighborhood, is very dependable, easy to work with and passionate about the work he is doing. He has a strong belief in the character of his neighbors and neighborhood.”

 Northeast Quadrant Community Champion: Vincent Russello, nominated by Carlos Torres of the Northeast Neighborhood Service Center, is the founder and president of the Vineyards Neighborhood Association. This enterprising resident is a true leader in his neighborhood, working tirelessly to resolve many community issues and working with the city to relay concerns. He is very creative in collaborating and working with other groups to improve the community. He has reached out to agencies to bring them into the neighborhood to assist those in need and regularly invites new ideas and input on projects. He’s a driver in obtaining funding for community improvement projects and is great at bringing people together for support, safety and promotion of the neighborhood. His nominator said of Vince, ”he’s consistent in reaching his goals, is a good communicator and never gives up on resolving community issues.”

Southeast Quadrant Community Champion: Joe DiFiore’s involvement and accomplishments are almost too many to list! This dedicated volunteer gives hours of his own time for the people and families of Beechwood and the City of Rochester. Some of the boards and organizations he serves include the Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition, Peace Village Homeless Encampment, Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, and Little Flower Community. Joe is skilled at organizing groups to get projects done. He was instrumental in getting Play Streets established, which resulted in a policy developed for Healthi Kids Coalition and the City of Rochester Dept. of Recreation for more neighborhoods to take on Play Streets – where 2 weeks of the summer time is set aside to close the streets for children of the neighborhood to play. Another project he championed was to create a StoryWalk at #33 School, Ryan Center and Sully Library.

Joe’s other passion is affordable housing, as a Board member of City Roots Community Land Trust, he works to establish and promote permanently affordable, quality housing in our city.  His vision includes:

  • Vacant properties turned over to the Trust for community-led development, which will turn them into community-held assets
  • Infrastructure and playful design elements that encourage people to walk and bike
  • Utilizing vacant lots for pop-up events, community gardens and play spaces

His nominator, Nancy Johns Price, says of him, “Joe does so much for so many. He is truly a champion who understands hard work and commitment to make a community strong. He sees a need and gets people organized and works on solutions.”

Community Leader Award: The Community Leader Award recognizes volunteer leaders who spark change by engaging others in improving their community. Devon Reynolds, Sr. and Jovan Bradley, co-owners of the Brothers and Sisters Unisex Salon embody this in their everyday lives. According to nominator Kim Hare, the two “are father figures, counselors, advocates, role models, problem solvers, community change makers, and more.” The have addressed issues in their neighborhood, including the challenges that families face from lack of food, kids hanging on street corners at all hours, lack of job opportunities, and feelings of despair and hopelessness. Projects they have organized include:

  • Starting a school supply give away to assist families
  • Providing free haircuts in the schools during the school year
  • Starting a food pantry – Sweet Ida’s Food Pantry – soliciting donations that include food and clothing.
  • Holding events during Black History Month and providing free books to children
  • Providing Thanksgiving dinners to those in need – more than 100 dinners in 2018!
  • Organize an annual Father’s Day Celebration
  • Collaborating with Trillium Health and Common Ground to host an event for HIV/STD testing and education, blood pressure screening and more
  • Hosting Community Roundtables to provide a venue for the community to speak, express their thoughts and concerns

“Devon and Jovan are unique and crucial assets to the Maplewood Community. They see an issue…and roll up their sleeves and get to work.”

 

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.

Celebrate City Living!

Celebrate City Living
Celebrate City Living
The City of Rochester and the Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living, which NeighborWorks® Rochester is a part of, have launched Celebrate City Living, a new program to help homebuyers and renters learn about the benefits of living in the city and find the resources to make it easier to buy or rent a home in Rochester.
“Rochester’s neighborhoods are a great place to grow and Celebrate City Living is our way of making sure everyone knows why,” said City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. “I want to thank the Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living and all of our sponsors for helping us create an exciting new opportunity to celebrate city living and invite more people to choose Rochester as their home. People who know why Rochester is a wonderful place to live can become active partners in our mission to create more jobs, safer, more vibrant neighborhoods and provide all of our children with a quality education.”
“The Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living is extremely proud to partner with the City of Rochester to promote city living by helping potential homebuyers and renters fully appreciate and enjoy the amenities of living in Rochester,” said Coalition Chairs Beverly Fair-Brooks, Vice President, Regional Community Reinvestment Officer of M&T Bank; and Ted Wood, Realtor, Construction Manager and Real Estate Broker at the Ibero American Development Corp. “Celebrate City Living is a fun and exciting way to increase investment and build a stronger sense of community in all of Rochester’s neighborhoods.”
Celebrate City Living is a year-round program designed to encourage city residency for consumers at every stage of the housing search, including renters, first-time homebuyers, experienced owners, those who require financial assistance and those seeking high-end, luxury spaces.
The program places a special emphasis on the distinctive settings and wide variety of housing choices in each of Rochester’s neighborhoods. The goal is to help consumers understand that Rochester is a city of neighborhoods and they can quickly focus their search for an ideal home by learning about the characteristics of each neighborhood.
The event website and an annual event will help consumers search city neighborhoods for a house or apartment and connect them to available resources, including Realtors, lenders and non-profit agencies that specialize in city housing. NeighborWorks Rochester will be there to assist all first time home buyers learn more about our programs and resources.
The website features a custom search engine that filters available housing choices by neighborhood along with profiles of the neighborhoods. The site is interactive and will include a social media center and enable neighborhood residents and merchants to submit neighborhood events to a community calendar.
The inaugural Five Star Bank Celebrate City Living Housing Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, April 16 in City Hall, 30 Church St. The Housing Expo will serve as a resource fair, where home hunters can meet representatives of each neighborhood along with Realtors, lenders and non-profit agencies who specialize in serving city customers.
Exhibitors will also include home décor stores, food vendors, entertainment venues and health and recreation facilities.
On Sunday, April 17 many open houses will be held at available city properties. In addition, the Landmark Society of Western New York will host three bus tours of city neighborhoods on April 9, 15 and 16. All tours start at 1 p.m. and depart from City Hall. Visit www.celebratecityliving.com to register for a tour.
Along with the annual Housing Expo, CCL will also partner with neighborhood representatives along with Canandaigua National Bank to host a series of Celebrate City Living neighborhood celebrations throughout the year, where neighborhood leaders and merchants can highlight the distinct benefits of their neighborhood in a festive setting.
The Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living members are: The City of Rochester, M&T Bank, NeighborWorks® Rochester, Ibero-American Development Corp, The Housing Council at PathStone, Citizens Bank, The Landmark Society of Western New York, Greater Rochester Association of Realtors, Game Plan Marketing, ROC City Realty, New2U Homes, Hart’s Local Grocers and Magellan Realty. This year’s title sponsor for the Home Expo is Five Star Bank.