Mayor Malik Evans Provides End-of-Year Review After First Year in Office

22 Year in review caro

December 28, 2022

Full Video




Good afternoon and thank you all for joining me here today for my “end of year look back." But before I look back on the whole year, I first want to look back on the last week: I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank the men and women of the city workforce who kept Rochester going throughout the State of Emergency we declared last week. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • The Water Bureau crews who immediately responded and to and spent the holiday weekend repairing to the broken water main on Favor Street so we could get the boil-water notice lifted as quickly as possible.
  • The operations crews who salted and plowed the roads to keep our streets open, and then kept the refuse and recycling collection on schedule.
  • Our teams in the Department of Recreation and Youth Services who opened our R-Centers for extended hours and kept the Gantt Center open as a Warming Center on Friday and Saturday.
  • And of course, the men and women of our Uniformed Services: Police, Fire, and 911 – who did what they had to do, over the holiday weekend and despite the challenging weather conditions, to keep the people of this city safe.

I want to thank these teams and the entire City workforce for their work in 2022 and I look forward to working with them in 2023. And of course, I also want to thank our partners in the County for their support during the State of Emergency. And most of all, thank you to the people of Rochester who stepped up to support each other – during the state of Emergency and all throughout the year.

Today is the third day of Kwanzaa and the principle of the day is Ujima: collective work and responsibility. I can’t think of a better day to look back on my first year in office than the day we are called to reflect on working together, because collaboration has been the Number One principle of my entire Administration. As you know, the mantra I brought with me when I entered office was: “It’s not me, it’s we.” 

I had no idea how relevant it would turn out to be. When I delivered my inauguration speech on January 1st, I said Rochester has a past to remember, a present to live and a future to build. In just under four days, 2022 will be in our past and 2023 will in our present. The future we are building is becoming more clear – and it’s more exciting and more hopeful than ever.

The source of that hope is the people of Rochester: Residents and stakeholders who fight for this city every day, especially those in our most challenged neighborhoods who refuse to give up on them. They are the true heroes in our community who deserve our deepest gratitude and support.


Our goal for 2023 continues to be to create a safe, equitable and prosperous Rochester where everyone can reach their full potential. It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s realistic. Because the people in our community are working hard to make that happen. And now, more than ever, they’re working together. There’s a spirit of collaboration being shared by leaders across every level of government, federal, state and local.

Governor Kathy Hochul has been a tremendous partner to the city of Rochester. So have our representatives in the State Legislature. They’ve delivered unprecedented levels of State investment to Rochester. 

Our Congressional delegation: Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Joe Morelle have been powerful advocates for Rochester … helping us deliver equity with the $202 million they delivered to the City through the American Rescue Plan Act. So let’s take this opportunity to look back on 2022 and see why we’re excited and hopeful about Rochester’s future.

Let’s start with our greatest challenge: Crime and violence. At the beginning of 2022, Rochester had to cope with two pandemics, the coronavirus and violence. The pandemic of violence could have outlasted the pandemic of the virus. The virus is still with us, but we’ve adopted a new normal life with the virus; a life with vaccinations and careful social gathering. A new normal of tending to our own health in a spirit of collective responsibility. But we cannot, and will not, accept a new normal for violence. Ever.

When I look back on 2022, what stands out for me is that our community refused to accept the historic surge in violence. We’ve re-dedicated ourselves in a spirit of collective responsibility to bring violence under control. In 2022, the name Julius Greer was burned into my memory forever. Julius was the first homicide victim of the year, killed at age 14 on his way to the store to get noodles. I’ll never forget his name. But I’ll also never forget the spirit of collaboration that became the central focus of our community’s response to crime and violence.

2022 was a year when the Rochester Police Department and the Rochester Fire Department lost two of their own to the dangers of the job … a stark reminder that the men and women who keep our community safe are driven by a higher calling to protect others, even at the risk of their own lives, a higher calling fueled by courage and determination that we must all be thankful for.

To meet our objectives for public safety this year, we moved forward with a three-part strategy of Prevention, Intervention and Suppression.

On the Suppression side, the RPD has built a historic alliance with our law enforcement partners at the State Police and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, to target the most violent offenders and take illegal guns off the street. And the City Law Department utilized the expanded authority under the Gun Violence State of Emergency to go after nuisance property owners who create the environments for violence with illegal parties and after-hours gatherings.

We are nowhere near where we need to be, but the numbers of shootings seem to be finally trending downward and we will accelerate that trend line in the months ahead. And this week, we filed suit against the gun industry to hold them accountable for their role in this mayhem. In 2022, the RPD was dealing with historic staffing shortages – which is why we included funding for a second Police Academy to speed up recruitment and fill the vacancies. 

On Prevention and Intervention, our Office of Violence Prevention has expanded the size of the Pathways to Peace street outreach team; we’re helping people re-enter society from incarceration and we kicked off the Advance Peace pilot program. We launched the Rochester Peace Collective to deliver a unified approach to community violence prevention programs. I want to thank the many organizations that signed on to be founding members of the Peace Collective and I look forward to growing these partnerships in the years ahead.

In the Department of Recreation and Youth Services, we expanded our Crisis Intervention teams to offer more healing support to those who call 911 and 211 for help. Of course, the best form of violence prevention is Economic Empowerment, and in 2022, we made tremendous progress on that priority.

We started a workforce development and entrepreneurship partnership with community agencies that is expected to create more than 2,000 job opportunities for city residents in a variety of areas, including urban agriculture and culinary services. We’re rebooting our Financial Empowerment Centers and increasing support for Minority and Women Owned Businesses in our Purchasing Bureau. We made further investments in the Young Adult Manufacturing Training Employment Program, or YAMTEP and we increased pay for youth positions in Aquatics and at our R-Centers

We increased internship stipends; created new programs in our R-Centers and library branches; and are bringing back the Police Athletic League to improve the relationships between our youth and the police who are sworn to protect and serve them. In 2023, we’ll further expand our Summer of Opportunity Program with even more employers creating summer job opportunities for our youth.

On our priority of Strengthening Neighborhoods, we made progress to provide our residents with the secure foundation of a home; develop pride in their neighborhoods and improve civic responsibility among our landlords and commercial businesses. On housing security, we made progress along the entire spectrum -- from homelessness to affordable housing to home ownership. 

And we did it in collaboration with our partners in the human service sector and the development community, thanks in large part to the work of the Housing Quality Task Force that we convened early in the year. We created new positions for code enforcement and compliance to go after slum landlords, and we created a position for a dedicated Housing Court attorney.

Losing someone to homelessness is no less tragic than losing someone to violence. Like many social concerns intensified by the Pandemic, the complexities of homelessness have become more acute. This has particular resonance for me because I can remember going out with my father, a Baptist minister, on some of the coldest, longest nights of the year, to provide comfort and offer services to homeless people who were sleeping under bridges and other places outdoors. 

I learned at an early age that in order to help people who need it most, you have to meet them where they are with compassion and a recognition of their humanity. And that’s what we are doing at City Hall, along with our partners in the County.

We know that rent burden is a major contributor to Rochester’s poverty rate and we made real progress to reverse it by completing new affordable-housing developments at Edna Craven Estates, Zion Hill Senior Housing and Pueblo Nuevo. We kept critical existing affordable units online with the renovation of Park Square Downtown. 

We increased investment in creating homeownership with our Buy the Block Program at Upper Falls, where we will celebrate the first set of ribbon cuttings this spring. And the Rochester Land Bank acquired dozens more vacant properties to sell to responsible owners to be returned to the housing market.

We’re working to build pride in every city neighborhood by increasing investments in street trees and community gardens. On our infrastructure priority of Building towards a Prosperous Future: With the support of Gov. Hochul, we’re literally transforming our Center City to take advantage of our tremendous waterfront opportunities. 

When I see other Mayors at conferences, many of them boast about their professional sports teams. I tell them, sports teams can move to other cities. But in Rochester, our city is situated between a Great Lake and a historic canal, and straddles a river with a 96-foot waterfall in the middle of Downtown. 

And we’re leveraging these assets. In 2022, we completed several ROC the Riverway Projects, including the Rundel Library North Terrace – which will link to our signature Roc the Riverway project, the Reimagined Aqueduct

The governor has also pledged to fully fund the Inner Loop North project, which will create more than 20 acres of development parcels between Downtown and Northeast Rochester and deliver environmental justice to neighborhoods that were ripped apart and isolated by this scar across our city. We’re moving forward with the $10 million state-funded Downtown Revitalization Initiative – coupled with a $5 million Restore New York Grant – to bring much needed investment to Main and Clinton in partnership with Home Leasing. 

This private sector investment is bringing new levels of public investment to Downtown. The Aqueduct Project is a major reason Constellation Brands is moving its national headquarters to the Aqueduct Building. And over at the Midtown site, Butler/Till has moved into a sleek, modern building on a site that used to be the Midtown Wegmans.

Meanwhile, the Midtown Revitalization is having ripple effects beyond the original footprint, thanks to visionary developers like Andy Gallina at Innovation Square and the Metropolitan; Buckingham Properties at Legacy Tower and the Winn Company at Sibley Square

Likewise, the Inner Loop East investments are generating tremendous private development, including the expansion of the Strong Museum, which will celebrate its completion next year.

In the past year, we saw large crowds returning to Downtown in places like Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park for the Roc Holiday Village; Party in the Park and our Summer Soul Music Festival. And obviously, a lot of people – several thousand people – are thankful for the return of the Jazz Fest to Downtown Rochester – especially at Parcel 5!

In 2023, we’re going to keep making Downtown more inviting. We will work with the Rochester Downtown Partnership to host dynamic and engaging outdoor events to make our streets more lively and engaging – to bring that Downtown energy out where we can see it. We’re going keep investing in affordable housing to make sure our transformed Center City is a Downtown for everybody. 

We also made progress on our priority for Equity, Inclusion and Justice. This priority is embedded in all of our other priorities in places like Inner Loop North and the support for MWBE businesses. We dedicated an additional $1 million to further implement the report of the RASE Commission to do things like kick off the Roc the Block Community Employment Fairs; and the Community Total Health and Wellness Fairs.

These are just some of the accomplishments we made in 2022 that will become part of our city’s history – our past to remember.


As we move forward into 2023, we’ll build on these accomplishments and make even more progress toward the future we are building together. I’m more confident of that today than I was on January 1st. Because if I learned anything in 2022, it’s this: Rochester is a community that fully embodies the principle of Ujima: the principle of collective responsibility.

So on this third day of Kwanzaa, I call on all of Rochester to join us to carry forward the progress we’ve made into the New Year. Join us as we continue to work together in a spirit of collective responsibility. We can only build and maintain our community by doing it together. We’ll make our brothers’ and our and sisters’ problems our problems And we’ll solve them together.

Thank you and have a Happy New Year.