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Apr 17, 2024

Mayor Evans delivers 2024 State of the City Address

Rochester is strong and getting better every day because City leaders and their partners are making critical investments that are empowering residents, perpetuating sustained growth, and expanding wealth.

“Look at where we are and you see a Rochester that, for the first time in more than 70 years, is nurturing growth and gaining value,” Mayor Evans said. “You see a city where people in every neighborhood are building equity and creating generational wealth. And all of this is accelerating the pace of positive change; where each new improvement begets more improvement.”

Speaking from the Arbor Midtown entertainment venue in the historic Lincoln Alliance Building on East Main Street, Mayor Evans said he and his team are achieving the aspirations he introduced during last year’s State of the City Address to create a safe, equitable and prosperous Rochester by inspiring hope and delivering opportunity for everyone. 

And he credited much of that progress on the shared commitment among elected leaders and other leaders in the community who are investing in the human potential of Rochester’s people.

“Cities are more than just places. They’re congregations of people whose interactions spark change and whose relationships drive progress,” Mayor Evans said. “Rochester has its first generation of leaders who not only share this viewpoint but are actively working together to harness the awesome power of that worldwide brotherhood. Leaders who are committed to inspiring hope and delivering opportunity for everyone.”

He opened with a passage from the Book of Isaiah – in which God says, “I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it?” – to establish a refrain that encouraged listeners to recognize and embrace the positive change that is taking place across the city.

“Perceive this new thing that springs forth,” Mayor Evans said throughout the address. “Perceive how we are creating a safer Rochester…Perceive how we are creating a more equitable Rochester…Perceive how we are a more prosperous Rochester because we are positioning our city for growth and preparing for more.”

Under each of the objectives, Mayor Evans cited examples of the programs, projects, investments, and initiatives that are driving the city’s growth. He closed each section with an anecdotal story of a resident who exemplifies the city’s rising growth and expanding wealth.

Starting with safety, he pointed to the partnerships with law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels to focus on the most violent offenders, illegal guns, and areas with the highest levels of violence. As a result, firearm violence has seen a significant reduction over the past two years, with shootings down by 31 percent, firearm related deaths by 29 percent, and total homicides by 32 percent.

On equity, Mayor Evans described programs that focus on helping residents achieve economic mobility and generational wealth. He noted that the City’s Housing Bureau has been investing in affordable housing and homeownership programs, helping people who pay more than 30 percent of their income toward housing costs emerge from being rent burdened.

Since the start of 2022, the City has completed, or started projects to build or renovate more than 1,000 market-rate rental units and almost 1,700 affordable units for a total investment of $685 million dollars.

On prosperity, Mayor Evans emphasized the hundreds of millions of dollars in investments that are taking place on capital projects across the city, including ROC the Riverway; Inner Loop North Revitalization and the Bull’s Head Revitalization.

From the beginning of 2022 through the end of this year, the City will have started or completed more than 40 transformational infrastructure projects for a total investment of almost $300 million, creating more than 3,000 construction jobs.

Mayor Evans closed his address with a quote from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“And so let us go out and work with renewed vigor to make the unfolding work of destiny a reality in our generation. We must not slow up. Let us keep moving.”

Click here to read the 2024 State of the City Address transcript