Southeast Quadrant - Pearl Meigs Monroe Neighborhood
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 beautiful 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 a variety of restaurants, boutiques, a yoga studio, an art center, the historic Monroe Branch Public Library and a YMCA. Its vibrant nightlife draws people from 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. Horse drawn, then electric streetcars, expanded the neighborhood reaching the Erie Canal (today I-490) in the 1890's. 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, who hosts the market on its parking lot. On a smaller scale, PMMNA organizes a plant exchange and give away each year, encouraging even those without a garden to “bring a box to take some plants home and start one.”
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 with them in neighborhood building is SEAC, who sent a Street Manager onto the Avenue to work with businesses. MVTF, a collaboration of the City of Rochester, Neighbors Building Neighborhoods, Sector 7, South East Arts Development, South East Area Coalition, the Monroe Avenue Merchants Association and area neighborhood associations and block clubs, is a strong voice in the community.
Block Clubs include Elmhurst Street Neighbors, a “street full of gardeners and front porch sitters,” who organize an annual fall picnic to welcome new renters and hold a street yard sale every three years. Edmonds Street Block Club helped to transform a small patch of dirt on their street into a landscaped pocket garden.
Churches in the Pearl Meigs Monroe Neighborhood include the African Methodist Episcopal Church on Meigs Street and the Primera Iglesia Pentecostal on Alexander Street. Schools nearby consist of the School Without Walls on Broadway, Monroe High School on Alexander Street and The Children’s School of Rochester, School #15 on Averill Avenue.
New neighbors on Monroe Avenue come courtesy of Alexander Park, an $83 million, 7-acre development projected to add retail, medical offices and housing units.
Rocwiki, the People’s Guide to Rochester has a final word to say about the area, “Some view Monroe Ave as the spirit and soul of Rochester. As fares Monroe Ave, so fares Rochester!”
A band of very determined residents are determined to keep Monroe Village’s spirit alive and faring well.
If you would like additional information on this neighborhood, please contact the Southeast Quadrant Neighborhood Service Center:
320 N Goodman St - Suite 209
Rochester, New York 14607