Update 19 April 2023

Presidents Message

It’s great to see the signs of spring and I’m looking forward to what the next few months will bring!  There are a few things happening in our community that I hope will be of interest to you: 

The 19WCA Community Survey deadline is being extended to April 30, 2023.

The Rochester City Council is engaging the Rochester community to participate in a Police Accountability Board survey to gain a deeper understanding of the community’s perception of the PAB. This is an effort to reach diverse audiences representative of our community. Printed copies were distributed to houses of worship, business associations, neighborhood associations, libraries, some barbershops and nail salons, and can also be been on the City web page and its social media.  The City will be using a portion of the Delegates Council Meeting on Thursday April 13th (6:45-7:15pm at Arnett Branch Library) for residents to take the survey.  It shouldn’t require more than a half hour of your time – I hope to see you there!

There will be a Bull’s Head Revitalization Project Update meeting on Monday, April 17th from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at St. Mary’s Hospital, 89 Genesee St., first floor.  You can park free in the ramp garage and enter from the skyway.

Susan Morehouse and the Complete Streets Makeover team is in need of help. They  are hoping to install some temporary parklets in front of the Arnett Cafe and the Arnett Library and need someone who could help build planters for those spots similar to what is on University Ave.  If you know someone who is skilled in simple woodworking, please have them contact Susan Morehouse at 585-775-9548.

Monroe County is hosting Pick Up the Parks on April 22 and the City of Rochester is hosting Clean Sweep on April 29th.  The 19WCA is signed up for Clean Sweep starting with a kickoff starting at 8:00 a.m. at Innovation (formerly Frontier) Field.  Please let me know if you are interested!

The Skating Party on March 25th was fun, as young and not-so-young enjoyed themselves on the ice.  We are looking forward to more collaboration opportunities with the University of Rochester. 

Please mark your calendar for Square Fair on June 3rd.  If you thought you had fun last year – wait ‘til you see what’s happening this year!  We still need volunteers to help – from set-up/take down, cooking, games, etc., – wherever there is a need we need you!

I completed the Citizen’s Policy Academy! The Rochester Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy (C.P.A.) is a 10-session program held once a year that started January 25 and ended March 29.  If you want an idea of what a police officer goes through, this is a good class.  The C.P.A. program provides a broad based look at the policies, procedures and operations of the Rochester Police Department. At its conclusion, students will be more familiar with law enforcement in their city neighborhoods and also with the training currently being provided to police officers.

Happy Spring!

Josie T. McClary

President, 19th Ward Community Association


Reminder Spelling Bee – April 8!

The Spelling Bee is planned for Saturday, April 8, at 2:00pm at the Wegmans Auditorium in Wegmans Hall on the University of Rochester campus. Below is a map of the university campus locating Wegmans Hall and where parking is allowed for this event.

A Few Skating Party Photos

From toddlers, to teens, to adults – a good time was had by all! Our thanks to UR Student Ambassadors and Tops Markets (West Avenue) for refreshments!

From our Street Liaisons John DeMott and Chris McDonald

History & Archives – “Ask the Archivist”

Do you have a memory or a question about some activity or project that you and your 19WCA neighbors participated in years ago? Perhaps you’d like to know what city or commercial initiatives the 19th Ward Community Association has supported or opposed over the years. 

If so, the History & Archives Committee encourages you to … Ask the Archivist!

To start the ball rolling, the History and Archives Committee asked Charlotte Giebel to contribute to this effort by writing a capsule history of the Thurston/Ravenwood Garden. 

A Garden for Us All!

What would you do about an abandoned lot disgracing a corner on your community’s main street? Some of your neighbors, believing that flowers are a strong means of combatting urban blight, were motivated to begin meeting in November 1997 with the hopes of turning the lot at 330 Thurston Road into a garden.

They discovered that the lot was privately owned, owed back taxes, and contained environmental concerns as a gas station had been on the site for more than 40 years. Undeterred, they worked for two years with City officials to obtain funding for environmental clean-up. An agreement was signed on June 27, 2000 between the City of Rochester, the 19th Ward Community Association and Focus Rehab 19, Inc. to transform the lot, which now belonged to the City at Thurston and Ravenwood into a Community Arts Garden. Dorothy Ramsey was the Project Director and David Merkel the Project Artist. Funding for the project came through a Culture Builds Communities grant, a joint project of the Arts & Culture Council for Greater Rochester, City of Rochester, and Citibank. In addition, the Rochester Area Foundation and the 19th Ward Community Association supported the project. The final cost of this project was about $70,000.

It was the large community of volunteers who brought the garden to life. They gathered to imagine designs, research plant selection, obtain grants, spread crushed stone on the paths and top soil on the gardens and lawn areas, and plant shrubs, trees, and flowers. They appealed to the City to place curbs, and a sidewalk along Ravenwood Avenue and place trees and street lights on the tree lawn. They worked
with eight community organizations to create art work for the bench surrounding the central cherry tree. What an amazing example of community at its best!

The garden was dedicated on October 5, 2001, a celebration of unity and hope at a time when our country was reeling from the devastating attacks of September 11. Twenty-two years later, it continues to bloom and provide beauty and respite in our neighborhood. As always, volunteer effort keeps the garden alive and beautiful. Many neighbors continue to give their time, plants, and money. What could you do? You could come help pull weeds, water, pick up trash, and donate to garden expenses like water, fertilizer, tools, plants, and occasional pruning. Please contact Charlotte Giebel at giebeld@gmail.com or give your contribution to the 19WCA, P.O. Box 24754, Rochester, NY 14624 or use the drop box at the Neighborhood Service Center, 923 Genesee St.

19WCA House Tour Returns!

The 19 Ward Community Association House Tour will return in 2023. 

The date is Saturday, October 14. This event is a long-honored tradition for the ward, with this being the fortieth tour!  Mark your calendars!

The committee is busy planning an interesting day. This event is important because it raises funds for the Association and showcases our lovely neighborhood, homes, & institutions.   The last tour was in 2019 and 61% of the tour participants lived outside the ward.  What a great way to promote our neighborhood to others who may be looking to find a new home or neighborhood.

The committee does need some help.  Specifically, we need volunteers who have experience in promotion, photography, Sales, & IT.  Also, we need one or two homes for this tour.  If you have or know of someone who has a well maintained, interesting home, or has an interesting collection, we would love to speak with you.  Please contact Tracey or Sue with any leads, or interests in helping with this event.  Many Thanks.

Tracey Karl, Co-Chair                                  Sue Williams Co-Chair

585-261-4035                                                       585-303-4543

traceykarl2014@gmail.com                   swillsie57@admin

19th Ward Community Cats

2022 was extremely busy for our volunteers. We started our trapping season in March with a large colony of 14 cats cared for by Spiritus Christi community.  Four kittens were adopted. The rest were spayed or neutered, vaccinated and returned (TNVR) to the site where the community gave them shelter and food. The men and staff there are wonderful cat caregivers and even built a fabulous shelter for the cats.

The year included an over-abundance of abandoned, friendly cats. Luckily our group has many connections with rescues including Pet Pride, 9 Lives Shop and Adopt, Roc the Dogs, Kitten Korner, Rochester Animal Services, Lollypop Farm,  RocKats, Rescued Treasures, 4 Legged Friends, Habitat for Cats , Full Hearts Rescue,  Keller Cats, and Animal Service League who all assisted us in re-homing cats that did not belong outdoors.

This year we helped 208 cats. 72 of those were TNVR’d and returned to their neighborhood where reliable neighbors feed them.  We gave vet care or intervened to help 136 other cats, 95 of those cats were re-homed or taken to rescues to be adopted.

We continue to get monthly donations of cat food from FoodLink and volunteers faithfully deliver food to low-income neighbors who feed feral and community cats. Our volunteers not only check in on the cats but also support the colony feeders. One family that our group has assisted over the years had the misfortune of becoming homeless. The family asked us to help re-home their cats rather than leave them on the street. Kellers Cats and Rochester Animal Services worked together to give updated vaccinations to each of the 9 cats and take them to a safe, no-kill shelter at Kellers Cats for adoption.

We had a fundraiser to get materials for cat shelters. Our volunteers built some of the warm and rugged shelters that are so important for our community cats in the cold weather. We also  purchased some heated water bowls. Cats require water and eating snow is not the best way to get fluids as it lowers their body temperature.

We are grateful to Lollypop Farm and Caring For Cats for providing all of our vet work this year.

Our group relies on volunteers. Two of our biggest needs are trappers, (we can train) and fosters (short term and longer term). Having a place to foster a cat for even a few days can be critical. We’ve lost cats because we had no place to hold them until a spot in a rescue group was available. It’s a desperate need. We also need people who can run errands during the daytime.  Please call 585-709-6229 if you are interested in volunteering.

All of this is done through donations. 100% of donations go to care for the cats. Please consider donating. To learn more about donations please call or text 585-420-8861.

Pawly is from the 19th Ward and is awaiting a home. Pawly is the sweetest kitty! He is leukemia positive and would need to be an only cat or with other leukemia positive (FelV) cats. He is healthy and just had some teeth out!

Pawly was on our streets in the 19th ward and helped by our very own 19th ward neighbors.

Annual Ione “Grandma” Collins Memorial Flower Sale

The calendar says it is Spring, and the Annual Ione “Grandma” Collins Memorial Flower Sale is back! Time to get ready to brighten your yards this summer.

Did you know that 2023 is the 100th anniversary of the YMCA in the 19th Ward, and 25 years since moving to our current location on Thurston Road? The name has changed over the years, but the mission of the YMCA remains the same. And no matter where we are, or what we are called, this neighborhood has supported the Annual Flower Sale for more than three decades! Proceeds from this flower sale benefit the Y’s Annual Campaign, which supports youth programs, camp attendance, adult fitness and active older adult programming. If you haven’t visited us on Thurston Road in a while, please stop by and see the changes, pick up a schedule, see the new equipment and say hi!

Orders can be mailed or dropped off at The Thurston Road YMCA Neighborhood Center at 597 Thurston Road. Payment is due with the order form; checks can be made payable to YMCA Flower Sale. Orders are due by Wednesday, April 26.

Arnett Branch Library


19WCA Community Survey

The date for completion of the survey has been extended to April 30, 2023. Please take a few minutes to answer the questions in this short survey.


School 16 Tutoring
Below is the link to the sign-up sheet for the 19th Ward Community Association’s School 16 tutoring support. This link will allow members to sign-up electronically.




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. NEW TIME! 6:30pm

Garden Committee

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

Communications Committee, Kate Phillips, 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.