Welcome to the Little Italy Association & Little Italy Historic District

About Us

THE LITTLE ITALY NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION

The Little Italy Neighborhood Association, Inc., (hereinafter also referred to as "LINA" or "Little Italy Association"),  is a NY State 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and registered public charity.  


LINA  has the specific consent of the NYS Attorney General to act as a district  management corporation, and to undertake efforts to commemorate and revitalize the Little Italy Historic District,  located along the Lyell Avenue Corridor in the City of Rochester, New York.  


Donations  made to the Little Italy Neighborhood Association are tax deductible, and help fund our organization's mission, goals and cause.  


LINA works with, and advocates on behalf of, area residents, businesses, and property owners, in the areas of public safety; beautification; promotion; social and cultural programs; revitalization and economic development. 


LITTLE ITALY HISTORIC DISTRICT STEERING COMMITTEE:


Silvano D. Orsi - Chairman & President, Little Italy Association

Franklin D'Aurizio - Board Secretary and Attorney at LaW

Thomas LaBue, Owner of Flat Iron Cafe & Center City Liquor

Frank D'Ambrosia, Real Estate Agent, Keller Williams Realty

Mitch Rowe, Preservation Coordinator, Landmark Society of WNY

Joe Santa, Owner & President, Santa Motors Incorporated

Louis Atkin, Owner of the former Tent City Buidling on Lyell Avenue

Craig Webster, President, Webster Properties and Metro Office Ctr

Usha Ramadugu, Owner, Saratoga Pharmacy

Miriam Rivera, Owner, Farmers Insurance Agency, Lyell Avenue 

Scott Benjamin, President, Charles Settlement House

Reffell Conteh, CEO, Wachuku Foundation for Humanitarian Aid

Scott Fiske - Sr. Achitect, Pardi Partnership Architects

Molly Clifford - Councilwoman NW District, City of Rochester

Larry Francer - Director of Preservation, Landmark Society of WNY

Maria Furgiuele - Exec. Director, Community Design Center (CCDR)

Rob Fornataro - Sr. Architect, SWBR Firm and Board Member at CCDR

Roberto Burgos - La Marketa Committee & Owner, Burgos Properties

Lino Nobrega - Sr. Grid Manager, General Electric Corporation

Adam McFadden - Councilman, South District, City of Rochester, NY

Pamela Davis - Public Relations, Lyell-Otis Neighborhood Association

Dorraine Kirkmire - Manager of Planning, City of Rochester, NY

Julio Saenz - Director of PODER 97.1 FM Radio (IBERO)

Rochester's Little Italy has over 150 Years of History!

Please  see the "Downloads" section of this website, for a detailed "Historical Narrative" about  the Italian-American community's 150 year history along the Lyell  Avenue Corridor, and for a "Map" of the Little Italy Historic District.

Also in the Downloads section, is a PDF version of City of Rochester Historian Blake McKelvey's article entitled: "The Italians of Rochester, an Historical Review", describing the period from around 1860 - 1960.

Mission, Goals and Vision

MISSION:

 

Our mission is to commemorate the rich history of Rochester's 150 year-old "Little Italy Historic District," as a historic district, located along the Lyell Avenue corridor, and to promote revitalization, development, preservation and restoration of the historic district and its  surrounding areas.  We hope to help attract new investment to the area (both public funding and private investment), which would help create  new jobs and help alleviate poverty in this struggling and  long-neglected area of Rochester. Our mission includes facilitating the transformation of the district area into a safe, vibrant, and sustainable 21st-century urban neighborhood, modeled upon the very successful and inclusive Little Italy San Diego “Community Benefit District” model. (Please see:  www.LittleItalySD.com for more information.)  


We would like to help  generate the rebirth of the Lyell Corridor, so that it becomes an attractive business and cultural epi-center, and a revived destination  place. The area has suffered from many years of de-urbanization, urban blight, poverty and neglect.  Our hope is that our efforts will  not only commemorate the history of the area, but also lead to changing  the negative perception of the area. We are working hard to help bring  about a new "economic driver" for the Upstate NY region, which will  potentially attract new business investment to the area; create jobs;  help alleviate poverty; help fill the area's vacant properties; reduce  crime; increase home ownership opportunities; address the public realm  issues of the area; and ultimately provide new educational, sport, tourism, culinary, multi-cultural programs and recreational  opportunities for people of all ages  and cultural backgrounds.


The Lyell Avenue Corridor is a primary North West Gateway into the City of   Rochester, which ushers-in thousands of people each day to  Downtown  Rochester. The area is ripe for revitalization and investment, and its  current state of affairs directly affects neighboring projects, such as  the planned $500 Million Dollar "ROC the Riverway" project, the "High  Falls District," the Genesee Brewery, the planned "Greentopia Eco-District," and the new "MCC Student Campus" operating right next  door, at Kodak on State  Street.  Our mission also includes helping the  less fortunate people of  our community, by raising funds to benefit  children and the elderly, as  well as the hungry, poor, needy, abused, and homeless, served by other  local 501(c)(3) charities. 


GOALS:  


We  are committed to promoting and facilitating revitalization and economic development along the Lyell Corridor, while also encouraging preservation and restoration, with our partners at the Landmark Society of WNY, the City of Rochester, Monroe County, and New York State.  We will work diligently to promote the area's multi-cultural history and its rich diversity.  We will promote and generate regional tourism, and we are driven by our  motivation to revitalize the Lyell Corridor and its surrounding areas; and very passionately driven by our vision to create a safe, vibrant and sustainable Community Benefit District in the area, for all to  enjoy together, as a true historic treasure of Rochester.   


LINA's goals include, but are not limited to, the following:  

 

1) Welcoming & attracting new business, housing and retail investment;   

2) Helping create jobs and promoting greater economic prosperity;   

3) Raising funds for the poor, needy, hungry, homeless and less fortunate;   

4)  Helping alleviate poverty through economic development, job training,  and by promoting entrepreneurship and educational opportunities;   

5) Promoting recreational, cultural, sport and culinary opportunities;   

6)  Fostering unity, solidarity and collaboration within the community and  region; and 7) Promoting cultural exchange and information-sharing, and most importantly, promoting diversity, warmth and inclusiveness.   


VISION: 


Our  longer-term vision foresees some very exciting developments, such as a  new downtown "Little Italy Welcome Center"; a Little Italy  Federal Credit Union; an authentic Italian Café and Retail Market, which would feature coffee, beverages, and walkable access to fresh foods from across the globe; an arts theatre and conference center; and a new Little Italy Newsletter to be published quarterly, with updates on the area's exciting events and store openings, among many other interesting initiatives that could help create greater prosperity in the area, and help enrich the lives of all Rochesterians and those who  visit the area.  Our vision is for a safe, inclusive and family-oriented district, which acts as a cultural epicenter for the area, and acts as a vibrant destination place for the entire community to celebrate and enjoy.    


The Rochester area is ranked second only to Staten Island in NY State, and ninth in the entire nation, with regard to its number of  Italian-Americans; but oddly enough, with the exception of local food establishments, the Italian-American community's cultural events and programs have been absent from Downtown Rochester for many years.  The  Italian culture is now flourishing again in Rochester, with a number of  new arrivals expected. Many other new cultures are also migrating to the  Rochester area, and they utilize the same Lyell Avenue Corridor as a  place to first settle into when they arrive. They seek the American  Dream just as the Italian people and community did for over 150 years,  and still do, even to this day.    


A  fantastic "Little Italy Festival" was held on Aug 12 & 13, 2017, for the first time in over 30 years in Downtown Rochester, demonstrating the strength of the Italian-American community.  It was ranked as a "Best Cultural Festival" of Rochester for 2017, by the community and readers of City Newspaper. 


The 5th Annual Little Italy Festival was held on June  16, 2018, at Marina Auto Stadium, to celebrate the official 150th Anniversary of Italian American history in the City of Rochester (1868 - 2018)!  The event succeeded in its mission to be the first major public event held in the Lyell area in over four decades, and helped draw attention to the area's need for revitalization.


Our most sincere hope is that all those who collaborate with our association, and all those who participate in our exciting programs and events, feel the true warmth and friendship of the Italian-American people and culture.


In September 2018, our exciting Little Italy Revitalization Initiative, received national-level recognition, and was named "Rochester's Best City Center Revitalization Strategy," by Revitalization: The Journal of Urban, Rural and Environmental Resilience, a leading urban planning journal from the Washington, D.C. area. 


We are truly grateful and honored by this very prestigious designation! 


Read all about it by clicking on this web-link: 


https://revitalization.org/article/is-creating-a-little-italy-historic-district-rochesters-best-downtown-revitalization-strategy/#.W4_M8xwpCdM


Please also follow us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages: @LittleItalyROC for updates about our exciting programs and future events.   

 

Thank you sincerely for your kind support!  


Grazie tante e cordiali saluti a tutti!

donate & support

 Your  kind support and contributions will help us meet our goals and fund our  mission. Donations are tax deductible.  Donate here to support the  Little Italy Association's efforts.  

Thank you for your kind support!

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