|Northwest Quadrant, northwest of downtown, west of Frontier Field.|
|Encircled by Lyell Avenue, Broad Street, Brown Street, the railroad tracks, and Child Street|
|Jay Orchard Street Area Neighborhood Association (JOSANA)|
The JOSANA Neighborhood is a located west of Sahlen's Stadium and north of Interstate 490. Ames Street and Campbell Street are its main thoroughfares. The name stands for the Jay Orchard Street Area Neighborhood Association, which was formed in 2001 following the shooting death of 10-year-old Tyshaun Cauldwell and subsequent galvanization of the residents.
Like the adjacent Lyell-Otis, Dutchtown, U.N.I.T. neighborhoods, JOSANA has some light industry as well. Nearly all of its housing stock was built before 1935.
The area known today as JOSANA was once part of Dutchtown - a corruption of the original "Deutschtown" - for its concentration of German immigrants. They planted numerous fruit trees, resulting in the nickname Fruit and Nut Neighborhood. This horticultural heritage can still be seen in the street names of Orchard, Lime, Walnut, Grape, Orange, and Maple. 1
The Germans were later joined by Italians who worked in the many industries along the river. By the twentieth century, Dutchtown was a bustling, working-class neighborhood of modest homes and apartments, with Jay Street as a busy commercial corridor lined with small ethnic shops. The Charles Settlement House was founded in 1917 to help these immigrants adjust to their new lives. A transition began in the 1950s and '60s with the arrival of African-Americans from the south, followed by Puerto Ricans in the 1970s. Still, the white flight to the suburbs left many properties abandoned, while others were swept up by absentee landlords and converted to multiple units. By the dawn of the twenty-first century, Dutchtown had become Ghost Town, a Detroit-style dystopia of empty lots and vacant structures.
Today, JOSANA is characterized by its unique demographics: one-third white, one-third black, and one-third Hispanic. 2 3
Just ten years ago, JOSANA was a different place, a neighborhood broken by decades of decline and abandonment and commonly referred to as "Ghost Town" for its eerily quiet streets and homes left vacant by residents fleeing the devastating effects of drugs, crime, and pervasive poverty that had come to define the area. For the long-term residents who remained in the neighborhood and those who found themselves there for lack of alternatives elsewhere, daily life felt like a constant struggle to maintain a sense of safety and security.
Indeed, within Rochester’s infamous "crescent" of distressed neighborhoods ringing Downtown to the north and west, "Ghost Town" had earned itself a reputation as among the worst of the worst neighborhoods. In 2001, tragedy struck the community when 10-year-old Tyshaun Cauldwell, outside playing near his home one hot summer evening, was caught in crossfire that erupted during an argument over a bicycle and killed – an innocent bystander taken far before his time. It was this devastating turn of events that thrust the neighborhood into the public eye, galvanized neighbors into action, and attached a sense of urgency to a renewed push for change . . .
By many measures, the neighborhood has made great strides. Through their dedicated efforts over the past decade, JOSANA neighbors and their partners have reinvented the community, transforming it from a place characterized solely by tragedy to one defined by action, organization, investment, and potential. Due to the urgency and severity of the issues, the flurry of activity preceded a coordinated planning initiative, and while a master plan for the neighborhood is thus long overdue, all of the hard work by JOSANA neighbors and their partners over the past decade has set the stage for positive and lasting change.
- From the JOSANA Neighborhood Master Plan, pp. 1-2, released February 2011 based on input from local residents. Read it here. (Note that this is a very large PDF. If it doesn't load, try the link from here.)
In 2012 Project Scion, a local organization that turns vacant lots into pocket parks, chose JOSANA as the site for their very first project. The Orchard was completed in July with the help of neighborhood residents and is maintained by the community as a prized green space. The Stadium Estates are expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
There still remains much to be done, however. According to 2012 data, the area between Jay Street and 490 was deemed to be the seventh most dangerous neighborhood in the U.S.. 53% of the homes in JOSANA are owned by absentee landlords and 29% of the children under six tested in the very high range for lead poisoning.4
City neighborhood working towards transformation - Democrat and Chronicle (2014-06-23)
Green Visions - A Greentopia film
JOSANA - Trying to Score - Democrat and Chronicle editorial blog (2013-05-16)
Neighborhood profile on Celebrate City Living
Neighborhood profile on City of Rochester website
Neighborhood profile on Rochester City Living
New paint turns city’s Ghost Town into Fruit Belt - Democrat and Chronicle (2015-08-08)
RCSD, city announces plan for "Beacon school" in JOSANA - Democrat and Chronicle (2015-10-21)
Stadium Neighborhood Could Get Boost - The Rochesterian (2013-01-25)
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- 1JOSANA Neighborhood Master Plan (Feb. 2011)
- 3Flower City Habitat for Humanity (2012-05-03)
- 4Stacey Freed, "Does everyone deserve help?" Rochester Magazine (Jan. 2015)