Update 19 – August 2021

President’s Message – Karen Emerson

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I hope you have been enjoying the lovely summer. In May the summer was a promise of all sorts of fun and exciting adventures. Easing of COVID restrictions and getting some normalcy back. Well, that was shattered by increased street violence in our nation and our city and the Delta variant.  As we move toward the end of the summer we are facing continued uncertainty about restrictions due to COVID.  

What’s going on?

We see and hear about all the bad things going on but rarely do we see the work being done behind the scenes. I will admit I did not know the extent of the work that our city and neighbors are doing but here are a few examples. I had the opportunity to attend the Violence Prevention Summit last week. I listened to Melvin Cross, Jr, the head of Pathways to Peace, speaking about the peacemakers who are out on the streets and at our community centers nightly making connections with our troubled youth. Helping them navigate their complicated lives and interactions with others. I also attended the PCIC (Police and Citizen Interaction Committee) meeting held every third Wednesday at the Public Service Building. Captain Michael Kelly filled us in on the issues his department is facing. There have been a large number of retirements, lots of mandatory overtime and dwindling numbers of new recruits. These issues, in addition to strained relations with the community have created a situation which is incredibly stressful for the police administration, citizens and officers. It is for these reasons that 911 calls may have a longer response time. All calls are prioritized and they are looking to see how the reduced staff is affecting response times. Social media sites have postings full of frustration about quality of life issues and the perception that nothing is being done. I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. We have city employees and other social service agencies working to make sure our city and our neighborhoods are safe.

The Neighborhood Service Center is our resource to help with all sorts of quality of life issues. Their work has increased since the issues with the police staffing has become more urgent. We have a dedicated staff who want to help. I can assure you that Daisy Rivera Algarin is tireless in her efforts to make sure the city agencies address the concerns brought to the attention of the staff.

COVID is still with us and I do not believe that we will be seeing any return to normalcy any time soon. I am concerned that the vaccination rate in our neighborhood continues to lag behind that of the state and nation. Currently we have less than half of our neighbors vaccinated.  

What can you do? Find out of if your neighbors are vaccinated. Give them information on how and where they can get vaccinated. Truly vaccination is the only way back to life as we knew it.

EVENTS for the future. The plans for a Virtual Trivia Night are near completion. Please consider joining us for the fun on September 23rd! We have some great merchandise. Our annual convention is coming in November. Sometime in the next few months you should be getting a notification for a district meeting. If you don’t hear about one, call the office. We will be hosting a group of University of Rochester to work at the office and Rapids Cemetery. We have applied for Complete Street Makeovers for several intersections in our neighborhood hopefully one of them will be chosen.

Karen Emerson, 19WCA President

Around the Neighborhood

As they have done for years, Carol Kramer and her husband Ron Stallworth donated two bikes that the Arnett Branch Library will be giving away to two lucky readers this summer! It’s not too late to enter your children into this contest – Happy Reading Everyone!

From gardens in our neighborhoods:

Beautiful Phlox! (thanks Mark Sweetland!)

Arnett bird and butterfly garden-phlox
Arnett bird and butterfly garden-phlox

Thanks, Susan Morehouse!

Giant swallowtail (new to our area due to global warming) on zinnias-
In my own garden-Susan Morehouse

Rapids Cemetery

The 19th WCA volunteers working at Rapids Cemetery are asking for suggestions.  We are looking for a perennial for shade in the Meditation Garden.  Want something that will bloom now and into fall to add color to the hostas there now.  Send thoughts to msweetla@frontiernet.net.  Thanks!

Southwest Neighborhood Service Center

Westside Farmers Market

Community News

L2P Westside – Lease to Purchase

A ribbon-cutting / press conference announcing the Urban League’s Lease-to-Purchase home construction project was launched on Monday July 26 at 33 Elgin St.  

The history of this project goes back to early 2018 when Urban League of Rochester Economic Development Corp.  COO Carolyn Vitale asked Don Hanks, John McMahon and John DeMott to help her find several dozen vacant residential lots in SW Rochester.  She was planning a project similar to a Cleveland Ohio initiative to finance & build lease-to-own homes.  They created a list from the City’s web site.  Most of the vacant lots resulted form fires and other demolitions.  At one point Carolyn, Don & I drove around together to evaluate all the potential sites to pick out the most suitable lots and the list was reviewed at a Delegates’ Council meeting in Oct 2018 that  resulted in a letter of support.  

The final list has 41 sites.  11 of the 41 are in the 19th Ward.  Atlas Construction was selected as the builder, agreeing to an aggressive schedule starting 1 home per week from December 2020 and ending in October 2021.   The most visible 19th Ward homes are on Sherwood Ave. at Aberdeen Square.  

The Urban League has been developing affordable housing in the 19th Ward for decades, both new-build and rehabs.  Since that time they added the multiple units at 240 Arnett, 80 Thurston Rd., and  750 Genesee.   The 750 Genesee St project replaced 4 derelict vacant buildings with a game-changing attractive 16-unit apartment in 2004.

If you are looking to apply or want to learn more about the qualifications for this program please check out its website or call the home leasing property manager at 585-262-6210.

Creative Ways to Bolster Vaccination Rates

The Community Foundation launched a Community Education Vaccine grant program for Rochester neighborhood and community-based groups to come up with innovative ways to engage and educate their neighbors and bolster vaccination rates. Here is a photo from the BarberShots project:

BarberShots was a collaboration of Rotary Club of Rochester Southwest, Grace Family Medicine/His Branches, and Vision Barber Shop in the 19th Ward to offer vaccinations and a free haircut in June. As an added incentive, a food cart vendor was on hand to offer a free hot dog, chips, and a drink to those who took the shot!

From RochesterWorks! 

Exciting news from our partners at the New York State Economic Development Council!

“Construction has begun on the $11.4 million Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center on Monroe Community College’s downtown campus. As a regional workforce model, the FWD Center will be operated with industry and partnerships with Genesee Community College, Finger Lakes Community College, BOCES, Rochester Institute of Technology, Greater Rochester Enterprise (Rochester, NY), New York State Department of Labor, RochesterWorks!, and Monroe County. The new state-of-the-art facility will train at least 2,500 students in various in-demand careers in manufacturing and technology.”

Read more about the development here

Hochstein at High Falls

Presented by High Falls Business Association, The Hochstein School, and WXXI.

This noontime, lunch hour summer concert series features the sounds of local musicians in the city’s High Falls District. Hochstein at High Falls concerts begin at 12:10 pm on Thursday afternoons at the Granite Mills Park near the Pont de Rennes bridge at 104 Platt Street. Click here for a map. The concerts are hosted by WXXI Classical’s Mona Seghatoleslami.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own seating and lunch. Each performance will run approximately 40 minutes. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 concert series will run only for four weeks in August. This summer, enjoy music by:

August 5 – Hanna PK Duo

August 12 – Jackson Cavalier

August 19 – The White Hots

August 26 – Mambo Kings

Hochstein at High Falls concerts are made possible by a number of local organizations, including Brandtatorship, The Cabot Group, LaBella Associates, LiveTiles, LMT Technology Solutions, Monroe Community College, SEI Design Group, Stantec, and The Zoghlin Group. (Sponsor list as of July 15, 2021)


The free lunches for kids at Arnett have stopped due to low participation but here is some news about vaccine clinics taking place at a lot of locations including Arnett.

More News

Dear Community Partner,

The Redistricting hearings are coming… next week! Will you add your voice?

This is your first opportunity to speak up for your Community of Interest and play a role in how you are represented in Washington and Albany. The Independent Redistricting Commission is drawing district lines for NY Senate, NY Assembly, and US House.

The current maps may divide your Community of Interest. If you don’t make your voice heard, the new maps could be worse. If you are happy with the current maps, let the Commissioners know that. Everybody deserves good representation in Albany and Washington. You can see Rochester’s current state office maps and those for the rest of the county HERE.

You may be wondering what you might testify about. Participants at other hearings have spoken about their neighborhood being divided into two Assembly districts and not receiving adequate support as a result; gerrymandering resulting in disenfranchisement of minority voters; a district “shaped like a seahorse”; and the desire for fair, equitable lines. (You can view past hearings here.)

The Finger Lakes/Western NY hearing will be held on Thursday, August 12th, at 2 PM. It will be virtual. Those who wish to testify must register in advance. Go to the Meetings page of the IRC website to sign up, no later than Wednesday, August 11th, at 2 PM. Note that you also submit written testimony using the same link.

A quick guide for those who may want to testify is HERE. In addition, the State League has plenty of resources here.

We hope that you’ll choose to testify, and encourage others. If we can be of help, email us at redistricting@lwv-rma.org.

Barbara Grosh

President, League of Women Voters of the Rochester Metropolitan Area


Committee Information

Reach out to our office manager if you would like to get involved.

Delegates Council

Delegates Council meets virtually on second Thursday of each month at 7pm via Zoom. No meetings July and August.

Garden Committee

The Garden Committee is seeing spring flowers, once again! Please volunteer if interested!

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee is in search of a new chair. Get in touch!

Housing Committee

The 19th Ward Housing Committee will meet the third Thursday of each month at 1 pm when we are able. Please get in touch with our Office Manager about how we’ll meet during social distancing. Our meetings generally last about an hour. A City representative from Buildings and Code Enforcement attends to work with us on specific properties, concerns/issues, code enforcement, etc. 

Schools Committee

The schools committee is looking for a new Chair. They are continuing to meet and will keep us updated on the good work they’re doing.