Rochester’s Celebrate City Living features neighborhoods

Mary Chao, Staff Writer
mchao@gannett.com

Democrat & Chronicle

“With their three children grown and on their own, Jim Mayer and Irene Allen decided it was time for a change.

Almost four years ago, the couple sold their 2,400 square-foot, ranch-style home in Brighton and began searching for a new place to start a new chapter of their lives as empty nesters. They found their perfect locale at Erie Harbor on Mt. Hope Avenue in Rochester near the Genesee River, renting a 2,000 square-foot, three bedroom apartment.

“This is an amazing location and area,” said Mayer, 56. “We love the South Wedge, walking to restaurants and walking to downtown.”

Erie Harbor is one of the communities that will be featured in a new program being launched by the City of Rochester. Celebrate City Living will replace City Living Sundays and will be a year-round communitywide program to promote living in the city.

City Living Sunday focused on home ownership, but the new Celebrate City Living will feature an array of rentals, home ownership options as well as highlighting neighborhood activities.

Erie Harbor, which is owned and managed by Conifer Realty, will be one of the rental areas showcasing what the community has to offer. There are 131 units at Erie Harbor, ranging from $1,100 a month for a one bedroom to $2,300 a month for a three-bedroom unit with three stories of living, similar to what Mayer and Allen are renting, said Katie Simmons, regional leasing specialist at Conifer.

There are 20 different floor plans to choose from and rent includes cable, Internet and water. Twenty percent of the apartments in the complex are set aside as affordable housing for income eligible tenants while the rest are at market rate.

People interested in places such as Erie Harbor have one central site to research the area. The new website launched by the city of Rochester atwww.celebratecityliving.com is designed for potential residents to find out about the available resources to make it easier to rent or purchase a home in the city as well as neighborhood amenities. Celebrate City Living is organized by the Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living and supported by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and the City Council.

“Choosing a place to live is one of the most important decisions a person will ever make,” Warren said in a statement. “Your neighborhood is so much more than the place where your house or apartment happens to be located.”

“Rochester’s neighborhoods are a great place to grow and Celebrate City Living is our way of making sure everyone knows why,” Warren added.

Celebrate City Living highlights the unique personalities and wide variety of housing choices in each of Rochester’s neighborhoods. Different areas will host special events to showcase the neighborhood. The neighborhood events are organized by the residents and business people, said city spokesman Patrick Flanigan. The neighborhood has to come forward to the city with an event idea and the city will offer support, he said, adding that the city is currently working with a second area to host a celebrate city living event.

The Neighborhood of the Arts businesses will be putting on the first extravaganza in the Celebrate City Living series on Saturday, February 27. M/Body, Hot Shots, Three Head Brewery, Muller’s Cider House, Just Juice 4 Life, Java Cafe, Starry Nites Cafe, Revelry, Joe Bean Roasters, and Rock Paper Scissors are among the NOTA businesses celebrating city living. To promote the neighborhood, the event will feature live music, beer tastings and coffee, said Molly Flaherty, owner of M/Body. There will be indoor and outdoor activities, the city’s portable recreational center, a climbing wall, and the SWAT armored vehicles in the large parking lot of the University Business Park.

“We’re so excited to collaborate with our neighbors to put on such an amazing event in the vibrant Neighborhood of of the Arts we call home,” Flaherty said. “Not only will this be an amazing event for residents, but it will also help raise awareness of the local businesses in the neighborhood.”

That’s what city living is all about — becoming a fabric of the neighborhood. Allen and Mayer spend much of their free time involved in community activities as volunteers and enjoying all the nearby attractions in the South Wedge.

City living is quite different than the suburban life, but they are enjoying the new life, Allen said. An avid gardener, she thought she would miss working in the yard. Instead, she took on new hobbies such as traveling as they now have more time and exploring neighborhood restaurants.

“It’s not about the yard,” said Allen, 60. It’s about the neighborhood you live in.””