NBN6 Jan 9 2017 Meeting Notes

NBN6 Meeting Notes

January 9, 2017

Facilitator:     Judy Lee Hay

Refreshments:  Neighbor Good Grant/Joan Lindberg, Becca Webb

Discussion notes are “coded” in the following way:

Q = Question

A = Answer

C = Comment

_____

  1. Introductions

 

  1.  Crime Reports from Rochester Police Dept. Crime Prevention Officers

GENESEE SECTION (UR, Upper Mt. Hope, Lilac/Azalea neighborhoods) – Capt. McMullen

  • There was a vote to end the use of red light cameras. A motor vehicle accident has already occurred at Elmwood and Mt Hope. I will update you if there’s an increase in accidents.
  • Regarding traffic on Mt Hope, a new officer position in traffic has been posted. Last month, I mentioned we lost an officer who worked Mt Hope (2 hrs a week). If I can’t replace his position, I will ask Traffic to spend time once a month. I would prefer an internal officer.
  • Regarding the new ‘No right on red’ sign on Wilson Blvd. at Ford St., even the UR buses are still right on red there. You might want to follow up.
  • One phone call to UR will take care of it. Thank you!
  • The retired Brighton police chief is going to work at UR (Security?).
  • Have you seen any changes in the traffic speed rates on Mt Hope? Do you track the data on that?
  • We can put in a request for the tracking data, and get you an answer.

Crime this month:

  • Robbery at Game Craze at 1521 Mt Hope. We can try to get you the video once it is declassified.
  • Cars are still getting broken into, but it’s decreasing.
  • There have been recent incidents of women leaving purses unattended – people taking things out of them.

GOODMAN SECTION  (Highland Park, Swillburg neighborhoods) – Lt. Alberti

We’ve had a good month for our portion of NBN6: I have nothing to report on.

Q There was a motor vehicle homicide at Beaufort St and Henrietta. A person was arrested, right?

  • Capt. Cuyler started an Adopt-a-Rec Center, whereby individual officers drop into a recreation center, talk to the kids, play games with them if time permits. There’s a similar project with schools. Our officers are assigned a school where we drop in, and introduce ourselves. Our officers enjoy this, and it’s not hard to do. We are doing it and will continue.
  • In our 2009 NBN6 plan, one of the goals for Goodman Section was communication with the Recreation Center, such as career training, the opportunity to talk to some of the kids. Has any of this occurred?
  • It’s under investigation. It appears to be domestic situation; the investigation is proceeding. Yes, there was an arrest made
  • Yes, leaders of different neighborhood organizations are invited to join our monthly meetings at our Neighborhood Service Center. If any neighborhood Association leader is interested in participating, please contact me.
  • Another goal was to make use of the Police and Citizen Interaction Committee (PCIC) meetings.
  • About tracking speed, Capt. McMullen referred to the speed monitor. How much speed data will we get? A month?
  • Six months.

CENTRAL/DOWNTOWN SECTION (South Wedge) Lt. Rob Wilson, Capt. Dave Smith, Officer Wagner (first time at NBN6 meeting).

  • This is Officer Wagner’s first time attending an NBN6 meeting. We wanted to introduce him because he works a beat from 2-10 pm in the South Wedge.

Crime report:

  • 0-100 block of Alexander: an individual went to an apartment at 4 am to get $60 for kids. This evolved into a domestic violence situation involving hitting a victim with a table, and pulling out a gun.
  • 2 Menacings (one with assault): A group was driving around town drinking, around 1 am in the 100 block Cypress St.  One of the passengers had previously stabbed the brother of another, then became worried about retribution. Shots were fired.
  • Larceny: A few different events such as: Items stolen from a purse left in a bar. In another, $980 was left in car visor, with the car unlocked, money was taken. (It may be domestic).
  • Burglary: Padlock taken off a garage and a bike stolen, on 300 block of Gregory St.
  • I live next to the German House where have been incidents after shows. Is there an extra police presence there? There was something a few months ago that sounded like gun shots. A group of kids dragged another over and then put him in a car.
  • No extra police presence. Call us. In past there have been nuisance violations there. This was in Sept-Oct? I’m familiar with that

If we get a call about a bar/location, we can assess nuisance points. If the establishment gets enough points (12 points in 6 months, or 18 points in a year) there are penalties, and the business can eventually be closed down. In this process we also meet with them, to come up with an action plan to try to prevent future incidents.

  • Ron Maier, the landlord of the German House, had a meeting with the community, and said he would take care of things himself. He won’t have events after 11 pm, and no DJs, only weddings and similar events for a while. They’ve done very well in booking those.
  • How prevalent is violent crime in the South Wedge? Are neighbors keeping a good eye on things?
  • Not a lot of crime. If you read some of the reports from this meeting, you will see there is often a back story to the crime. As for neighbors looking out for each other, there was a case where someone grabbed a cell phone from a female pedestrian and ran off. She cried for help. A few neighbors responded and ran after the suspect. I think in general it is pretty good.
  1. South West Neighborhood Service Center, John McMahon
  • The South West NSC is doing a pilot project for the Neighborhood leadership academy. We are looking for 10 established community leaders, and 10 people who are interested in becoming leaders. We will have 4 classes on topics such as team building, conflict resolution, and working on boards. Applications will go out around the end of January; classes will take place April- May.
  • John McMahon is the liaison for the Flower City Work: about 1,000 youth come into the city to help out with jobs. If you have someone to recommend who needs help with some jobs, let me know.
  • Are there income qualifications for people needing help?
  • None.
  1. Comments on the Karges Project
  • Due to illness, Steve DiMarzo’s presentation has been postponed. So tonight we will collect questions to send to Steve before he next attends this meeting.

Karges is the 2.2 acre tract of State land that was sold in fall 2015. Betlem Heating bought one; and Mark IV bought another, with the intention of building 114 market rate apartments.

  • Is the design set?
  • It’s still being worked on. The architect is Richard Rosen.
  • Have they suggested a range of rents?
  • We only know it’s “market rate”.  Note that “market rate” doesn’t necessarily mean low rates; it can be a fairly high rate in this area.
  • Another concern is from 4-6 pm there is currently a lot of traffic congestion right around the entrance to this development. An increase in traffic at this location is a concern for Swillburg neighbors.
  • There’s also been some concern about Mark IV’s upkeep of some of their properties.
  • Have they agreed to clean up the environmental issues on the property?
  • Yes, they did. The land was a former shoe factory and has environmental issues associated with it. The cost of the rent in the project will be dependent on the environmental cleanup costs.
  • The City’s Neighborhood and Business Development website http://www.cityofrochester.gov/nbd/has a link to a pamphlet called the Developer’s Guide that gives general principles for privately owned property development, issues such as zoning, heights, traffic. We suggest you consult this before Steve’s presentation. Knowing this information can help have a more informed discussion with developers.
  • Have they gotten any grants, subsidies for remediating the soil?
  • We don’t know. We will ask Steve to address it.
  1. South Wedge Planning Committee    Introduction to Glynis Valenti, Associate Director    phone number 585 210 9216, email gvalenti@swpc.org.
  • Glynis has interests education in journalism, art, and community organization. She recently moved back to Rochester after living in Oregon. In October 2016, she became Associate Director of SWPC, replacing Eileen Thomas, who took another position. Much of her work involves grant writing.
  • SWPC has existed since 1975. Its full-time employees are John Page, Executive Director, and Glynis, Associate Director. Part time staff are Jennifer Baldwin, Construction Manager; Nancy O’Donnell, Editor of The Wedge; and Jesse Knoth, Community Engagement, and in charge of the South Wedge Farmer’s Market.
  • There’s a Board of Directors; an alliance exists between the SWPC and SEAC boards. There are sub-committees such as Housing and Structures, Community Engagement, and Fundraising (which is now planning the City Love event. More information to come.)
  • The SEAC open house will be later this week. Please come! SEAC is looking for input on programs that neighbors want to see.
  • SWPC, in conjunction with SUNY Geneseo, has a Small Business Development Center. Business owners can apply and meet with a representative, Norm Karsten 585 245 5429. It’s free and confidential. Norm helps people with business plans, advice on business issues, and can help them find lenders for funds to expand or develop a business.
  • We organize and sponsor the South Wedge Farmer’s Market. In 2016, we had 24 vendors; $5500 in sponsorship; and $655 was leveraged for park beautification. We also have a SNAP Program that increases spending power at the market for qualified residents.
  • The Wedge Newspaper, a free publication with a circulation of 10,000 people, is 35 years old this year. Glynis brought copies of The Wedge, and ad rate sheets.
  • Accomplishments over the past 10 years: We have rehabbed and helped save 30 vacant homes from demolition. 550 owner occupied homes have been repaired. 271 businesses were assisted through the Small Business Development Program, which brings in total of 15 million dollars.
  • We are currently involved in a Strategic Planning Process. We did an on-line survey, with 150 respondents. Pete Nabozny will present the findings at our next board meeting. Board meetings are the 3rdTues of month. From 6:30-7 there’s a combined SWPC/SEAC meeting. And the SWPC board meets from 7-7:30 or 8. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Survey results show that 68% of respondents live in the South Wedge, 70% own their homes. Only 17% have children under 18.  89% believe the South Wedge is going in right direction. They like: the walkability of the neighborhood and its village feel. Only 5% felt the neighborhood is not going in right direction. 21% cited the issue is the schools.

According to NY State, there are 2,200 households in South Wedge and approximately 4,200 residents. 40.5% of housing are units in apt buildings; 20.4% are in houses. The vacancy rate of 2.92% is very low. Commercial spaces have an 11.76% vacancy rate. 21% of our residents are employed in Health Care.

Current SWPC Projects:

SWPC has a Federal Home Loan Grant for work on 25 properties. 21 of those homeowners are under the median income. Work is currently completed on 11 of those properties.

SWPC is partnering with Rochester Housing Charities to build infill housing on vacant lots. There are 5 scattered sites (3 in Beechwood).

Current issue: City will be issuing an RFP for the property at 151-171 Mt. Hope Ave. This is the current location of the South Wedge Farmers’ Market, between the Time Warner parking lot and The Hamilton housing development. SWPC put in a preliminary proposal to develop the site, including a farmers market, a park/recreation area, and access to the riverfront trail.  It will include first floor commercial development and mixed housing. The goal is to make it a destination, to develop that portion of the waterfront with docks, etc.

SWPC is aware that City’s RFP may open up the site to development that the community may not want. This is the only buildable piece of property on the river. Our goal to make the best use of the property. The city won’t allow just a park there. We are asking for community input.

  • The City wants the tax income from developing housing.
  • You’ve proposed mixed housing on that lot – is there really much need for new housing?
  • I don’t see this as being best use of this property. To get on this portion of the river, I need to launch back at Black Creek Park. I’d like to see a boat launch in the plan. There used to be docks on this site, this is an opportunity to get that back.
  • Nothing is set in stone. This is a proposal. The RFP isn’t out yet.
  • There was a lot of discussion about this proposal at the Housing & Structures committee last week.  I hope SWPC is not going to build the four stories overlooking the trail.
  • I think he is planning that.
  • John Page wanted to get ahead of the ball. There was considerable opposition – I hope the idea will be totally scrapped. How about a community forum?
  • With Doug Benson, [and the Waterfront Revitalization Plan] the NBN6 platform is requesting development of the waterfront for the city and neighborhood first, before any development of the land.
  • We have done a lot of work with Doug Benson on the Waterfront Revitalization Plan. Our neighborhood priorities did not involve housing. You need to see the work that was done before. Most importantly, we didn’t want a visual block between the neighborhood and the river.
  • When is the RFP supposed to be coming?
  • In the next 3 months.
  • I drive by there every day, and you can’t actually see the river. So I don’t understand this issue of seeing the river.
  • You are aware of having access to the river and a view of the Susan B. Anthony-Frederick Douglass bridge. This is the only place you can see this. We want the view to be an invitation to use the river – if buildings go up, it will feel walled off
  • Yes.
  • Is it correct The City is not allowing a park?
  • I’m happy to hear there will be community involvement. But the idea that SWPC needs to rush to get a proposal out there seems to conflict with getting community involvement in the process.
  • I’m concerned that a number of us here have been members of the Housing and Structures committee for years. This is the first we have heard of this plan. This is a huge possibility for development in the South Wedge, an opportunity to benefit our community.
  • It’s important to remind SWPC that there was a Corn Hill Charette 5 years ago – where the community defined what it wants to see along river.
  • What about building something like an ice skating rink, roller skating rink, where the City can charge for use?
  • Furthermore, the Community Design Center has hosted various speakers from across the country who have emphasized the value of our riverfront.
  • Mayor Warren is member of the Rose Fellows – other mayors in this group came up with the precise recommendation that Rochester shouldn’t develop its waterfront with buildings.
  • Paul Minor wrote up a request that would be appended to the Waterfront Revitalization plan.  Glynis: I need to see a copy of that.

Facilitator: Doug Benson will return to this meeting again to discuss this. And next month, Commissioner Baye Mohammed will attend this meeting – a great opportunity for us to discuss this with him.

  • How does one get a hold of discussion summaries?
  • The NBN6 website.

 

  1. South East Neighborhood Service Center – Kelvin Knight
  • Clean Sweep 2017 will be the last week in April or first week of May.  There are limited slots available for the South East area, so get your project in to me early. Last year, we had a problem: the various locations were distant from each other. There are mini Clean Sweep events, such as cleaning up a garden. We can deliver compost and woodchips. I suggest you have them delivered a week or so early, because there’s usually not enough to go around.
  • There will be a meeting on Mobility Public, which has a project about putting low-powered cell towers on residential streets. Sat. Jan. 14, from 10-12, or Jan 19 from 6-8, at the Frederick Douglass Center.
  • Please let us know about any vacant houses falling into disrepair. If we find out early enough, we can get a house into someone’s hands who will take care of it.
  • Baye Muhammed, City Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development – will come next month to February NBN6 meeting.
  • We recently learned that on Jan 18, 1:30 pm, 20 RIT students will come into this area to do two hours of work.  They are looking for any non-profit agencies that need a few hours of work done, such as organization, cleaning out a room, etc.
  • The SEAC open house is Jan 12, 6 pm, at 224 Mount Hope Ave.
  • The South Wedge Planning Committee “Wedge Me In” annual event will take place Jan. 27, 6-9 at 224 Mt Hope Ave. All are welcome.
  • C: There were 2 problem houses on Averill – some work is taking place on one: a roof is being worked on. The other was occupied by people, and now seems to be empty.
  • C: There was a house demolished at Ashland and Gregory. Yellow house on the corner was left 5 years. Was demolished because the roof had caved in.
  • Please let us know if there are elderly neighbors with dilapidated homes who need assistance. Also, if you see a vacant house that still has power on, RGE will come and turn it off. This can bring the property to our attention.

 

  1. Topics for Future NBN6 meeetings

If you have any topics to suggest, send an email to the NBN6 leadership team.

  • Emergency Preparedness Training – who is doing it and where? It’s usually offered at the Academy on Scottsville Rd. Can regular people do it?
  • Yes, contact Kelvin Knight.

 

  1. Community Sharing

 

  • Events at Frederick Douglass Library:

Fri at 1:45 pm.  Tail Waggin’ Tutors

Thurs. Jan. 26, 230. After-school snack program for kids

Tech Tutor Librarian is available Thursdays 4-5 pm for any assistance on your phones, ipads, etc.

Sat. Jan 21 at noon, a winter blues wreath-making workshop. Registration requested.

 

  • Any resolution on the shared meeting space at the library?
  • We met with the school’s principal before Christmas. In order to allow the space to be shared, an official memorandum of understanding must be filed. It will be a 2 month process to go through City’s Legal Dept.
  • Email from Yvette Torres regarding the RGE substation at 262 Mt Hope: they are upgrading underground work. Building construction is expected to be completed by June 2017. Exterior work to follow, expected completion by 2018.
  • Rose O’Keefe was interviewed by Emily Boyce, an RIT graduate student writing a thesis on gentrification, which involved interviews with people in this neighborhood. Rose read it and thought it was right on target. You can find the thesis at roseokeefe.com under resources. The link is on her Facebook page: westernny history buff.
  • At the Cypress Linden History Night this Sun. afternoon, there will be a birthday party for Margaret Nordby.
  • City Love fundraiser will take place March 24 at The German House, 630-930 pm. There will be a band, auctions, and local food.
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