From Mayor Malik Evans’ point of view, Rochester is on the verge of becoming one of the nation’s great cities.
Community collaboration and federal stimulus dollars have brought the city to the tipping point of self-perpetuating greatness, Evans said, as he delivered a progress report—titled “All in for Rochester” —on his first seven months in office. He spoke at the theater at Innovation Square to elected officials, residents and community stakeholders.
“The entire Rochester community is ready to come together and work together, side by side, shoulder to shoulder to move this city forward,” Evans said.
His report comes as Rochester grapples with violent crime and is in a state of gun violence emergency, and deals with a beleaguered school district, in addition to other challenges, including poverty. Homicides continue to rise, the Rochester Police Department lost a police officer and the Rochester City School Board has asked its superintendent, Lesli Myers-Small, to vacate her post, weeks before schools reopen for a new academic year.
“There’s an African proverb that says don’t stop planting your crops because the birds are eating them,” Evans said. “That’s good advice and we’re following that at City Hall. We won’t be paralyzed by hopelessness. We don’t give in to the bankruptcy of despair.”
He highlighted the following investments in key priorities identified by his administration:
■ Public safety: investment in Pathways to Peace; the Peacemaker Fellowship; the Peace Collective; a second Police Academy to help fill staffing shortages.
■ Economic empowerment: rebooting Financial Empowerment Centers; increased investment in entrepreneurship and workforce development; increased support for Minority and Women Owned Businesses.
■ Youth development: increased pay for seasonal youth positions in Aquatics and R-Centers; increased internship stipends; new programs in our R-Centers and library branches; return of Police Athletic League.
■ Strengthening neighborhoods: new positions for code enforcement and compliance, including a dedicated Housing Court attorney; increased investment in homeownership and affordable housing.
■ Building toward a prosperous future: continued progress on ROC the Riverway; Inner Loop North; closing neighborhood disparities in street trees
■ Equity, inclusion and justice: embedded in all priorities; dedicates an additional $1 million to further implement the report of the Commission on Racial and Structural Equity.
“The progress we’re making on these priorities and the people I work with are the reason I come to work every day full of hope and excitement,” Evans said. “But we need your help. So, let’s work together and be all in for Rochester.”