Winning public safety projects announced 

UPDATE (Dec. 27): The City of Rochester has announced the winning projects in its Citizen Budgeting for Public Safety initiative. The city's press release follows the story.


City of Rochester neighborhoods will find out on December 30 which of their proposed projects to improve public safety will get funded. Mayor Tom Richards will make the announcement at 10:30 a.m. in the atrium at City Hall, 30 Church Street.

Each quadrant submitted ideas and priorities to improve public safety in their neighborhood, and then residents voted for the ones they liked best. Voting ended on December 16.

Each quadrant will get $50,000 from the City of Rochester to fund the winning ideas. The program, which is called Citizen Budgeting for Public Safety, is being run through the city's Neighborhood Service Centers.

"I just think a lot of really clever things have come out of it," says Nancy Johns-Price, administrator of the Southeast Neighborhood Service Center.

The Southeast's ballot, for example, included ways to calm traffic, and called for the creation of a mapping project to help reduce crime in select neighborhoods. The Northeast quadrant proposed buying specialized vehicles for off-road code enforcement and to patrol trails and other hard-to-reach areas.

In order to get funded, the projects had to demonstrate a connection to public safety and be able to be implemented within a year of final approval. The winning projects may be carried out by the city, or the city will help find the right organizations or vendors to do the work.

Johns-Price says that voting in the Southeast was strong.

"For me, it was out of control," she says. "It was nuts."

While $50,000 isn't a lot, Johns-Price says the program has other benefits.

"What it did was it got people together to have conversations about things that are worrying them," she says. "And it got us started on some stuff. Even if some things don't get funded, I believe now that the charge has started, they [the neighborhoods] will go elsewhere to find other outside funding. They'll write grants and do things, and we'll find a way of doing it."


(Friday, Dec. 27, 2013) - Mayor Thomas S. Richards today announced the results of the public vote for the "Voice of the Citizen" Budgeting for Public Safety initiative. The two-week voting period ended on Monday, Dec. 16 with a total of 840 votes cast. The Southwest quadrant winner was the Jobs for Life career and community education program which will provide job referrals and mentors for 30 adults and tutoring for 60 youth in science, technology, engineering and math. The project also includes seminars on block club leadership, civic engagement, financial literacy and home buying as well as a youth disaster recovery workshop that teaches skills in disaster preparation.

The winning project in the Southeast quadrant includes civic engagement opportunities like traffic calming discussions and implementations, neighborhood enhancement projects such as mini-Clean Sweeps, gardens, landscaping and community collaboration events such movie nights, health fairs and holiday celebrations.

The Northwest quadrant winner was entitled Crime Prevention through Environmental Design. The items to be funded in this project include tactics to encourage pedestrian traffic and discourage loitering, street drug sales and gambling. These would be high visibility pedestrian crossing signs, increased brightness of street lighting in select areas, outdoor café seating for rotating use among the quadrant's restaurants, stores and delis, sidewalk plantings and hanging baskets and vacant storefront art.

The Northeast quadrant winner was the GIS Scholars Program. The VOC funding will allow the program to add 5 to 10 more students to take part in after-school training in the operation of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. The students will create a mapping project designed to assist with crime prevention in selected areas. They will collect data and identify crime rates through the mapping technology, create maps to plot variables surrounding crime such as property ownership, poverty, proximity to services and others. They will publish and share their results.

Mayor Thomas S. Richards dedicated up to $200,000-up to $50,000 per city quadrant-to be spent on projects that were wholly created and developed by citizens. The winning projects are scheduled to proceed to the implementation phase in January.

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