The Pearl-Meigs-Monroe Neighborhood is several blocks from Rochester’s foremost green spaces of Highland Park and Cobbs Hill, yet its green ethos earned it the name – “The Garden District.”
Neighborhood residents, nearly 80% renters, advertise their investment in their community through beautifully landscaped gardens, some with formal statuary or whimsical “found art.” Small street corner gardens have been created for the benefit of all.
Just beyond the residential streets, a flourishing commercial district beckons with various restaurants, boutiques, a yoga studio, an art center, the historic Monroe Branch Public Library, and a YMCA. Its vibrant nightlife draws people around the city to sports bars and pubs.
Neighborhood boundaries extend north to Monroe Avenue (the south side from Alexander Street to South Goodman Street), south to Broadway/Inner loop, east to South Goodman Street, and west to Route 490. Neighborhood streets include Alexander, Edmonds, Meigs, South Goodman, Elmhurst, Lawton Street, Pearl and Woodlawn Streets, Averill and Monroe Avenues, and Broadway.
Long before the Garden District or the avenue named for President James Monroe, the area was one of two historic roadways between the original settlement of Rochesterville and the Village of Pittsford in Rochester, New York. Horse-drawn, electric streetcars expanded the neighborhood, reaching the Erie Canal (today I-490) in the 1890s. Big Victorian houses with “gingerbread molding” and welcoming porches branch out from the main artery.
The Monroe Village has a dedicated army of advocates: The Pearl Meigs Monroe Neighborhood Association (PMMNA), the Monroe Village Task Force (MVTF), the South East Planning Coalition, the Monroe Avenue Merchants Association (MAMA), and various block clubs. The very active PMMNA builds community between homeowners and renters. In 2008, it launched the Monroe Village Farmer’s Market with the support of MVTF and Blessed Sacrament Church, which hosts the market in its parking lot. On a smaller scale, PMMNA organizes a plant exchange and gives it away each year, encouraging even those without a garden to “bring a box to take some plants home and start one.” EZ Rochester Junk Removal
The group meets monthly and keeps in touch with its members via a newsletter, “Growing Together,” and a Facebook page -“Pearl Meigs Monroe Neighbors.’’ Joining them in the neighborhood building is SEAC, which sent a Street Manager onto the Avenue to work with businesses. MVTF, a collaboration of the City of Rochester, NYU Neighbors Building Neighborhoods, Sector 7, South East Arts Development, SEAC, the Monroe Avenue Merchants Association, and area neighborhood associations and block clubs, is a strong voice in the community. SEAC supports the area in economic and housing development.
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