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Rochester seeks new neighborhood strategy 

The City of Rochester's signature neighborhood investment program is in for some changes. Focused Investment, which began in 2009, targeted four borderline city neighborhoods for an intense outlay of time and money: Marketview Heights, Beechwood, Dewey-Driving Park, and Jefferson Avenue.

The goal was to stabilize the neighborhoods and possibly help them turn the corner toward growth.

A recent evaluation by a consultant showed that the program has had some successes, but that the city would do better to narrow its focus to one or two neighborhoods.

Focused Investment was hampered somewhat by the recession and by the fact that the chosen neighborhoods were in worse shape than the "borderline" label suggests, officials said.

City officials will use the consultant's feedback to reinvent Focused Investment, they said at a meeting last week. That may mean choosing new neighborhoods to target while also seeking to protect the investments made in the four Focused Investment neighborhoods, they said. They will seek a "graceful exist" from those neighborhoods, they said.

The new effort may not be called Focused Investment, either. And it will be tied into the development of the city's new comprehensive plan as well as the work being done by the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative at United Way.

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