Update 19 February 2023

Presidents Message


Greeting Residents and Business owners of the 19th Ward as well as friends of our community.

As many may or may not know the 19th Ward Community Association will no longer be housed at 216 Thurston Road. The house was put on the market in April 2022 and was sold December 2022.  

While we were disappointed in this decision, we are excited for the opportunity to brand ourselves as a community engagement association that is now a virtual office.

Although this decision was made in 2022, as your new president in 2023, let me explain.  It is essential to the Association to serve the community and we will continue to do so!  Cultivating a healthy, happy and well-informed community is the vision of the 19th Ward Community Association. While we have had our challenges over the years, I assure you we are not going anywhere! We will continue to provide the same services to our residents via online as well in person by using neighborhood businesses as meeting places.

I believe in this now virtual world we live in and it will give us an opportunity to work more closely with the community, residents and businesses of the 19th Ward and our surrounding fellow neighbors.

Below are some of the questions we’ve been asked and the answers.

Did the Association move?

Yes.  216 Thurston was sold on 12/19/2022.  Our lease will expire on 2/15/23 – after which we will no longer have a physical office at 216 Thurston Rd.

What is the new location of the Association?

We have plans to locate a physical building, however, for now, the 19WCA is a virtual office.

How do you get in contact with the office?

You can continue to call 585-328-6571

You can continue to email our office manager: 19thward@19wca.org

What are the hours?

Office availability remains Tuesday-Friday 9:30-2:30pm.  We will let you know if anything changes.

Will we still have events?

Yes.  We’re looking forward to planning events/community engagement in the coming months.

In January we held the MLK program and MLK Luminary Night hots spots, as well as a PAB Transparency meeting.  We plan to have our Candlelight dinner on February 11th, Family Skating Party at GVC Skating Rink on March 4th, and the Spelling Bee on April 8th.    We will also host Board of Election presentations on the power of voting in March. We look forward to our community’s involvement!  We will send communication via our newsletter/updates, Facebook, Instagram, as well as through your District Delegates.

How can you make a donation or pay membership dues?

We accept donations via PayPal or check. 

We have a drop box at the SW Neighbor Service Center (923 Genesee Street) (no cash)

You can send via U.S. mail by using PO BOX 24754, Rochester, NY  14624

If you have any further questions, please email 19thward@19wca.org or call 585-328-6571.

Josie McClary

President, 19th Ward Community Association


MLK Luminary Night – January 16, 2023

We had luminary “hot spots” at Ravenwood Garden, the Bird & Butterfly Garden and at St. Monica’s Church. Following are some photos from St. Monica’s where the UR students partnered with the 19WCA!

Breakfast Meet and Greet at Arnett Cafe – organized by SW ROC to support our neighborhood restaurants.

Schools Committee

(Submitted by Douglas and Charlotte Giebel)

The Arnett Library is once again busy on Saturday mornings with students from Schools 10, 16, 19, 29 and the Wilson Foundation Academy practicing their spelling with the help of tutors from the University of Rochester’s Sigma-Phi-Epsilon fraternity (pictured above). For the past three years practices have been conducted by Zoom because of the pandemic. The University of Rochester’s Sigma-Phi-Epsilon, who have traditionally sponsored the Bee on the university’s campus, has been instrumental in the success of the practices and the conduct of the Bee generally. Last year the actual Bee was held on campus once again, while the previous year it was held at School 10 because of the university’s covid precautions. This year, plans are being laid for the Bee to be held on the university campus on Saturday, 8 April 2023. Meanwhile, in-person practices continue to be held on Saturday mornings at the Arnett Library from 11am to noon.

          This is the thirteenth year that the 19th Ward Community Association has organized a spelling bee for the public schools in the ward’s immediate area. The Bee was initiated by John Laing and Kathy King in 2010 to help improve the academic growth of the public school students. The Bee typically has included students from grades three to six, with the winners of each grade offered a $500 scholarship to a college or certified trade school provided by the Rochester Area Community Foundation upon their graduation from high school. With the encouragement of a grant from the Monroe County Legislature and the initiative of Dr. George Larkins, a retired Rochester Public School principal, we have added the 7th and 8th grades from the Joseph C. Wilson Foundation Academy to the Spelling Bee.

Arnett Branch Library

Be Careful!

The Rochester Presbyterian Home is advising the community that Hyundai and Kias have been broken into during the 3-4pm timeframe. Cars have been affected in both front and back parking lots of their facility. Please be careful!


Published January 26,2023 in Rochester Business Journal

Good Paying Jobs will Reduce Violence

The best way to stop a bullet is with a good paying job. 

Of the five poorest zip codes in New York State, three of them are located in the City of Rochester. Of the twenty poorest, Rochester has five and I represent three of them in the state senate. Notably, the majority of the families who live in these neighborhoods are considered “working poor:” those who have jobs, but whose household income is still below the federal poverty level.

It should not be a surprise that these same neighborhoods also experience high levels of violence. Last year, the City of Rochester had 76 homicides; 36 of which occurred in the five poorest zip codes, which is almost half of the total lives lost to violence in 2023. Of course, this isn’t a uniquely Rochester problem. As the former chair of the senate’s Upstate Cities Committee, I visited many small and mid-sized cities across New York State, each of which has seen increased gun violence, more youthful offenders, and continued challenges with drug and alcohol addiction.

So how do we make our streets safer? First, we must recognize that increasing public safety is not a one-policy solution. Some will attribute the increase in crime to recent changes in our bail or parole laws. This is both short-sighted and misleading. Yes, changes in our criminal justice system are still needed, but these policies do not address the root cause of much of the criminal activity: generational poverty and lack of economic opportunity. The hard truth is, until we pay more people with a living wage, we will not see a meaningful reduction in violence.

New Yorkers who earn minimum wage take home annual pay of approximately $29,500. In our poorest Rochester neighborhoods, families hover around $21,000. Many of these residents work in food service, as health care aides or in retail / hospitality roles; each of which is hard, time-consuming work. But these jobs are not designed to encourage saving, let alone create generational wealth.

This new year we must be intentional about treating economic development as an investment in public safety. I support tax incentives to bring new jobs to our state, but these employers must also ensure that the promised jobs are accessible to those families that need them most. Ribbon cuttings and photo-ops are not enough. We need specific strategies to remove hiring barriers by thinking about transportation, childcare, and workforce training as part of the job creation formula.

The recent announcement by Edwards Vacuum in neighboring Genesee County promises a $300M commitment to build a manufacturing plant in Batavia that will create 600 good-paying jobs. According to recent data, the average starting yearly salary of technician positions in these plants is  approximately $50,000. Notably, many of these jobs do not require more than a high school diploma. This could be life changing for Rochester residents, but how will workers from the poorest zip codes in the city access these jobs without public transit? Many residents do not own their own vehicle or cannot afford the childcare necessary to work nearly an hour away from their home.

I am working with RTS, Greater Rochester Enterprise and our Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce to create a model that incentivizes large employers to provide direct transit access for their employees by utilizing our existing public transportation systems. This goes beyond just offering bus passes, and instead seeks to create a new route from our downtown transit center directly to the Batavia work site. If successful, this model could benefit other cities where many of the new job opportunities are in large rural industrial parks such as the new Micron plant outside of Syracuse.

As a member of the senate’s Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business committee, I want to help lead New York into a new era of equitable economic growth. We can do this by putting safeguards in place to ensure that the jobs coming to upstate are accessible to our inner cities and under-employed populations. If we are successful, it will result in safer, more vibrant neighborhoods for all New Yorkers.

Jeremy Cooney is a New York State Senator, representing Greater Rochester

Greater Rochester Habitat for Humanity – Flower City Habitat for Humanity

The eligibility repairs include:

Roof repair 

Structural damage

Porch repair



Handicap accessibility 

Siding and more!

Income requirements is found under Services.

Genesee Street Reconstruction

In Case You Missed It

Job Training Opportunity

The City of Rochester is among four organizations in New York State to receive a $500,000 grant through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Job Training Program to clean up and transform blighted brownfield sites in the city. The federal grant is the single-largest investment in brownfields infrastructure under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

The City will use the funding to establish a new Brownfields Environmental Skills Training program that would build upon the success of its Rochester Environmental Job (REJob) program. The REJob program has effectively graduated more than 120 students who are currently employed in the environmental construction industry. 

“This federal grant is an important investment for the City of Rochester and its residents,” said Mayor Malik Evans. “I am extremely grateful to the EPA for helping us pursue our goals of creating a greener and more sustainable Rochester, and working toward environmental justice. Cleaning up brownfields in our community for future investment and supplying the environment-construction field with a trained workforce will greatly enhance our efforts to create a safe, equitable and prosperous Rochester, and to provide city residents with employment opportunities.” 

The City’s new Brownfields Environmental Skills Training program will train nearly 100 participants and place approximately 80 percent of them in environmental remediation careers. The training includes OSHA’s 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, Asbestos Handler/Worker Certification, Air Monitor/ Asbestos Project Monitor Certification, OSHA’s 10-hour Construction Site Safety, and Construction Inspection. Students who complete the program will earn up to one state and three federal certificates. 

The City has received four grants under the EPA Brownfields Job Training program to-date, totaling $1.1 million in funding.  

You can find video footage and more information of the City’s REJob program here


 Health & Wellness

The Food Pantry @ Church of Love. Now serving, City of Rochester residents of zip codes; 14608, 14611 and 14619.

Committee Information

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

Delegates Council

Delegates Council will meet 2nd Thursday of each month at the Arnett Branch Library.

Garden Committee

The Garden Committee is always looking for help in maintaining our neighborhood gardens.

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee is in search of a new chair.

Housing Committee

The 19th Ward Housing Committee will be restarting soon. 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 continuing to meet and will keep us updated on the good work they’re doing.