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Evans calls first week as Rochester mayor 'sobering’

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans calls his first week in office sobering during a news conference in the city hall atrium.
James Brown
Rochester Mayor Malik Evans calls his first week in office sobering during a news conference in the city hall atrium.

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans called his first week in office sobering, saying the city has had more than its share of tragedy.

A man died Friday, after his car collided with another car in the midst of a high-speed chase with police. The suspect, who police said may have been involved with a shooting on Dewey Avenue, was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Two Rochester residents died in two different fires this week, one in a house on Jerold Street in northeast Rochester and the other at the Winton Gardens Towers on East Main Street near North Winton Road.

On Sunday, 14-year-old Julius Greer Jr. was shot and killed while heading into a Gold Mart convenience store on North Street for noodles. Rochester Police say they’re unsure if Greer was the target.

Evans said the incidents bring clarity to stakes that come with his work.

“Taken in the whole, the events of this week have offered a crystal-clear reminder why the work we do is so important, the work we do literally means the difference between life and death,” said Evans.

During a news conference Friday, Evans said that he, along with several local lawmakers, Assemblymember Demond Meeks, City Council President Miguel Melendez, Councilmember Michael Patterson, and Monroe County Legislator Mercedes Vasquez Simmons, visited the site of Greer’s death.

The visit was a part of an initiative called Mayor on the Block. Evans said they discussed the circumstances of Greer’s death with neighbors. He said the visit energized him, showing him why community involvement was so important.

Evans also said he and several city hall staffers have given $9,000 to crime stoppers as a reward for information in the case.

“We are putting our money where our mouths are at city hall and we are donating to this fund to hope that this will encourage someone to step forward,” said Evans who contributed a third of the money. “It shouldn’t take a cash reward,” said Evans.

Evans said he was pleased with Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State Address which included several vocal commitments to funding downtown Rochester projects including Roc the Riverway and a potential state park at High Falls.

“We believe that if that becomes a state park, that will become a destination at High Falls with the state and that will be a great opportunity to drive tourism to the area and also highlight one of the few cities in the country, that has a waterfall a lake and a river.

Evans will be the next in a long line of Rochester leaders to continue the fight for equal state AIM funding for Rochester. AIM is state aid for towns and cities. Evans says he doesn’t know if he’ll get an increase but he said it's worth a try.

“I’ve been on a campaign as has every mayor previous to me going back to Bill Johnson to get per capita what Syracuse and Buffalo get,” said Evans. “I’m grateful for what we got in the state of the state, but I’ll always ask for more, I wouldn’t be a good mayor if I didn’t.”