City of Rochester
(Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011) — Mayor Thomas S. Richards, Department of Recreation and Youth Services Commissioner Luis Burgos and members of City Council held a ceremony today to re-name the Gardiner Recreation Center in honor of the late Roxie Ann Sinkler, a community activist who volunteered for more than 25 years at the center in a quest to improve the lives of community youth.
“Roxie Ann Sinkler’s untimely death last March left a void in this community that can never truly be filled,” said Mayor Richards. “Today she gives this community a lasting gift – her name. We gratefully accept it to honor her legacy and establish a permanent memory of her life’s work so that other committed citizens may have an example to follow.”
"We are very excited to honor this community icon who partnered with the Department of Recreation and Youth Services for many years to ensure that the youth in that community had a safe place to play, learn, and develop into fine youth leaders,” said Commissioner Burgos. “With this dedication we are honoring her and creating a lasting reminder that her great work must continue."
“I am so pleased to have the opportunity to honor Roxie Sinkler,” said City Councilwoman Loretta Scott, a former commissioner of the City’s Parks Recreation and Human Services Department. “Roxie fought to keep the Gardiner Recreation Center open. Re-naming the center in her honor will be a permanent reminder to us all of what one person can achieve through determination, persistence and love for her community.”
Roxie, like her father Rocky Simmons, was a strong advocate for young people,” said City Councilman Adam McFadden. “Her legacy was saving this recreation center so that young people would have a place to go.”
Today’s ceremony at the newly named Roxie Ann Sinkler Recreation Center, 75 Grover St., featured the unveiling of a bronze bust in Ms. Sinkler’s image and a plaque highlighting her work in the community.
Roxie Sinkler, who died unexpectedly in March at age 56, was a dedicated and tireless advocate for the neighborhoods of Southwest and Northwest Rochester.
As a community organizer, she recruited and engaged partners in important initiatives such as the Chili Avenue corridor revitalization, the Chili Avenue Business Alliance, and the award-winning Peacemakers Community Garden at the corner of Chili Avenue and Thurston Road.
Ms. Sinkler also was instrumental in organizing a partnership with the City’s Pathways to Peace initiative that enlisted community volunteers to assist at-risk youth in the Chili/Thurston area with connections to social services, education and work prospects, mentorship. She was also a long-time dedicated volunteer at the Gardiner Recreation Center, and a constant advocate for improving and expanding the center and opportunities for city youth.
Roxie was the oldest daughter of Rocky Simmons, a renowned man in his own right as the first black Deputy Sheriff in Monroe County, and an organizer and participant in the Negro Baseball League. Alongside her mother Bea and sister Michele, Roxie ensured that the legacy of her father was not forgotten. The University of Rochester hosted an exhibit commemorating his accomplishments and the exhibit is on permanent display at the Hall of Justice in downtown Rochester.
News Media: For more information, contact Luis Burgos at 428-6770.