On Saturday, April 25th, from 11am to 7pm, Arnett Boulevard between Rugby Avenue and Wellington Avenue in southwest Rochester’s 19th Ward Neighborhood will come alive with events, artwork, and temporary small businesses.
This Better Block project, in the historic Arnett Trolley Stop District, is part of a nation-wide movement to demonstrate possibilities for revitalizing urban neighborhoods.
Better Block events encourage small businesses and multi-modal transportation to make city living more enjoyable and sustainable, creating walkable, attractive, amenity-rich spaces in underutilized areas of a city. Choosing an area of the 19th ward which was once an active trolley line fits in with this goal. While this project in the Arnett Trolley Stop District will only exist for a day, Better Block organizers hope to inspire local residents and entrepreneurs to make some of its temporary perks into permanent enhancements to the local economy and culture.
For this event, the Arnett Trolley Stop District will be home to a number of pop up restaurants and jewelry stores, a yoga studio, and other local vendors. There will also be activities for residents of all ages, including children’s activities, community bike rides, fitness activities, a beekeeping demonstration by the local non-profit Sweet Beez, and live music by Grace Flores and NEF featuring Jamall Youngblood & Ajay Stephens, Zachary Speth members of Umoja, and the Mighty High and Dry, and other groups.
One of the food vendors for the day will be the Bocanegra family. Mia Bocanegra and Omar Ramos are long-time Rochester culinary stars from their time serving food at the Rochester Public Market’s La Placita. There are many Rochester families who will be thrilled to have some of their delicious Mexican food again, and this event will allow them that possibility.
The East side of the District will be anchored by the Grimshaw building which was recently featured in the Democrat and Chronicle and by New Life Church. The building located at 362 Arnett , owned by David Culeton, will serve as an anchor for the Arnett Trolley Stop District on the West end of the District.
362 Arnett is currently being rebuilt by In the City/Off the Grid , a Rochester cooperative focused on sustainability, and it will have both commercial and residential units available for long-term tenants later this spring. For the day on the 25th, this work in progress will be filled with Better Block vendors and events demonstrating some of the possible amenities that could be brought to the 19th Ward.
In anticipation of the Arnett Trolley Stop Better Block event, a chalkboard has been placed on 362 Arnett with the request that local residents write down what they would like to see open in their neighborhood. 19th Ward resident and Better Block organizer Dan DeMarle is also recording a series of interviews with area neighbors asking what they would do to make the Arnett Trolley Stop their perfect block if money were no object.
To prepare for the Better Block, there will be a Mini Clean Sweep in collaboration with the City of Rochester on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22nd, from 9am to 12pm. Interested parties are encouraged to participate in sprucing up the street to make way for the pop-up businesses and guests coming the following Saturday.
Tags: 19th Ward, 19th Ward neighborhood, 362 Arnett Boulevard, Arnett Boulevard, Arnett Trolley Stop Better Block, Better Block Project, City of Rochester, complete streets, Dr. Dan DeMarle, event, In the City/Off the Grid, Jason Roberts, pop up shop, pop up store, Rochester, Rochester NY, urban development
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