For the last four years, we have been working closely with the City of Rochester staff and residents across the city to support health and kids in all policies. That’s why Healthi Kids was excited to read the draft Rochester 2034 Comprehensive Plan. This important plan will affect kids and families across our city. Rochester 2034 will set the city’s strategic vision and goals for the future.

As the plan was under development, our coalition and staff met with City Council and staff, shared best practices from across the country and provided data on key health outcomes and disparities. We also participated in several advisory committees, including the Comprehensive Access Mobility Plan and the 10 Minute Walk to Park planning grant. Together, we have also piloted several innovative strategies that promote healthy communities, urban placemaking, and community building in our neighborhoods.

After reviewing the draft Rochester 2034 Comprehensive plan, we offer our full support for the draft plan. We thank Rochester for its commitment to kids, health, equity, placemaking and strong neighborhoods. Our coalition members and staff are looking forward to working together with the City of Rochester to implement the innovative strategies and goals over the next fifteen years.  We are also thrilled about the inclusion of several of our recommendations. We applaud the city for its willingness to embrace a new vision for Rochester that prioritizes kids and health.

Our coalition is particularly excited about the following aspects of Rochester 2034: 

•            The placemaking plan that emphasizes the importance of playability, walkability, and bikeability across the City of Rochester

•            The housing action plan that recognizes housing is critical to the health and well-being of residents and neighborhoods

•            The vacant lot action plan that will activate vacant lots across our city for urban agriculture, community gardens, and playable spaces

•            The arts and culture plan that will increase access to public arts across the City of Rochester and support community building and educational opportunities for youth

•            The schools and community centers action plan that will support healthy learning environments for children across the City of Rochester

•            The community beautification action plan that will work alongside neighborhoods and residents to expand public beautification efforts

•            The parks and recreation & open space action plan that will enhance access and support high quality parks and open space across the City of Rochester

•            The climate change mitigation and adaptation action plan that will support active transportation choices

•            The urban agriculture and community gardens action plan that supports the growth of urban agriculture across the city. This plan will improve access to healthier foods

•            The transportation action plan that expands Rochester’s multi-modal planning and infrastructure capacity. This plan will improve walkability and bikeability in the city

•            The economic growth action plan that will continue to attract businesses and residents to neighborhoods across the city

•            The workforce development action plan that will help build the capacity of our local workforce to address pressing needs of our community

•            The city and neighborhood promotion action plan, which will continue to support residents and build strong vibrant neighborhoods

•            The building neighborhood capacity plan that will ensure all residents have the voice and capacity to support government decisions, planning, and policy making.

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of collaboration and working together to achieve these outcomes as a city. To truly prioritize kids’ health and well-being, we must work together to implement the plan with fidelity.

To ensure the full implementation of the goals and strategies highlighted in Rochester 2034, Healthi Kids recommends the following additions to the draft plan: 

1.           Ensure community participation in the oversight committee

To support the implementation of Rochester 2034, an oversight committee will be established. We urge that the membership of the committee include diverse neighborhood voices from each quadrant of the city. We also urge the inclusion of multi-sector partners that can aid in implementation.

2.           Develop metrics to track process

We have asked the City of Rochester planning department to devise metrics and process measures to track the implementation of the plan. These metrics and process measures could include city wide data on health outcomes, tracking the number of community projects that are created because of the placemaking plan strategies, and the impact on residents. In other words, they could track who is better off and how as a result of the changes that take place. We encourage that these metrics be developed and shared with residents and stakeholders as part of the progress report and online forum.

3.           Share best practices with members of the Rochester community and across the country

As we move together as a community to embrace a bold vision for the future, we will work alongside the City of Rochester to share best practices from Rochester 2034. We applaud the City of Rochester for taking bold action to prioritize health, kids and our community. We want to ensure this vision sets a standard for other communities across the country.

We look forward to working with the City of Rochester to implement the vision of Rochester 2034.