South Wedge- Rochester’s Oldest Neighborhood


South Wedge is one of Rochester’s oldest neighborhoods outside of Downtown and began in the 1820s as a series of small houses owned by families tied to the Erie Canal trade. By the time Frederick Douglass moved to South Wedge along South Ave in the 1860s, the area was bustling and hosted the city’s first street railway.

After World War II the Wedge began a slow decline as residents moved to the suburbs. Businesses closed until the Wedge hit rock bottom in the 1970s. At this time around 25% of all housing units were vacant and crime was high along on South Avenue. But the fortunes of South Wedge really started to rise in the 2000s. Neighborhood groups worked hard to remove crime hot spots on South Ave and bring businesses back. Today South Avenue is one of the most interesting business districts in Rochester with lots of creative and locally owned shops. Architecturally the neighborhood has a nice variety of homes built between the 1840s and 1920s. Many handsome mixed-use buildings line South Avenue as well some decent urban in-fill development.

Main areas for South Wedge to improve upon include more rental housing options (something that is partially being helped with the new infill development along the River), better walkable schools, better cultural amenities, improved urban form along Mt. Hope Avenue, and a full service grocery store.

Click here to view my South Wedge album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Very convenient access to Downtown.
* 2 nice north to south dedicated bike lanes but no dedicated bike stations in Rochester.
* Nice diversity of affordability & moderately priced for sale housing. 1-bed homes sell in the 100Ks, 2-beds in the 100Ks & low 200Ks, 3 & 4 bedrooms anywhere between the 100Ks and mid 200Ks depending on size & condition.
* Several affordable housing buildings in the neighborhood..
* Great park amenities including the Genesse Riverway Trail/Gateway Park, Highland Park to the south, and a couple smaller parks within the neighborhood. Solid tree canopy as well.
* Culturally there is a good array of restaurants, bars, cafes, and a brewery. There is also the Lamberton Conservatory, Warner Castle, Sunken Garden within Highland Park along with walkable access to some cultural amenities Downtown.
* Retail amenities include a Co-Op and local small Grocery store, a Pharmacy, a bookstore, a butcher, a decent # of boutiques, several dessert joints, local stores, and home good stores. There is also a local public library and a major hospital.
* Some decent infill with several new mixed-use buildings along South Ave and new MF housing along the river.
* Generally good urban massing along the main biz district (South Avenue). Much less so along Mt. Hope and Clinton Avenue which often have a mix of auto centric and industrial uses.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Rental housing is very limited but generally moderately priced.
* A couple walkable schools within or nearby but generally not great ratings.
* Only 1 art gallery, live music venues, theaters, and few museum sites here.
* Retail wise only a couple banks and no chain supermarket, nor local post office.

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