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City gives interim report on investment strategy

Rochester Business Journal
March 25, 2013

A four-year investment strategy using $14.7 million to improve the quality of life in Rochester neighborhoods has benefited 305 households but likely will take longer than expected to complete, city officials said.

The city’s Focused Investment Strategy was launched in 2008, allocating 20 percent of federal Community Development Block Grant funds to four neighborhoods with substantial community development needs, officials said last week.

The selected neighborhoods are Marketview Heights in the city’s northeast quadrant, the Dewey-Driving Park neighborhood in the northwest quadrant, the Beechwood neighborhood in the southeast and the Jefferson Avenue area in the southwest, officials said.

The program was scheduled to be completed in three to five years.

In addition, the city has allocated up to $1 million annually for street and sidewalk improvements and housing development.

The $14.7 million in Focused Investment Strategy resources allocated or invested has leveraged $56.5 million from other sources, city officials said.

The initiative has resulted in the large-scale affordable rental projects in the Voters Block Community and Holy Rosary Apartments, the completed or planned rehabilitation of 137 residential properties and 18 commercial properties, the demolition of 18 vacant structures and the upcoming demolition of 26 more, and the construction or renovation of 16 properties through home ownership, officials said.

“The Focused Investment Strategy has accomplished many of the goals that we originally set out to achieve, and its impact is becoming visible throughout the specially challenged neighborhoods selected for this needed investment,” Mayor Thomas Richards said in a statement.

“Due to the challenges in the neighborhoods when we started with FIS, the initial timeline of three to five years will likely take longer to be realized.”

The city is considering a variety of options that would extend the program, he said.

“There is much work to be done, and I’m recommending that we continue this important initiative over the next two years, at a minimum,” he said.

(c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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