Rochester’s North Clinton Avenue neighborhood marked a milestone Thursday as local leaders cut the ribbon on the new International Plaza at La Marketa.
The goal of the new marketplace is to create a new community gathering space where local businesses and entrepreneurs can sell their products.
The development fills a previously-vacant lot in the area of North Clinton and Sullivan Street. Leaders hope the transformation will help provide a boost for the neighborhood and draw in visitors from across the community.
Additionally, they hope the addition will help bolster a neighborhood that has been dealt a number of challenges in recent years. Amid the opioid epidemic; the area has seen large amounts of drug activity in the area, and neighbors say they hope the project can help them push back and reclaim the neighborhood.
This is the beginning of a new journey for this community. I think there’s going to be a lot of opportunities for local residents for this community to advance. We’re just very ecstatic about it.
Belen Colon, 81, has lived in the neighborhood since 1966 and has become known by some as the "mayor of North Clinton Avenue". She says she's been distressed by the amount of drug abuse in the area and hopes the new plaza will help bring about change.
"Now, I see so many sick people using drugs, using alcohol, but I expect that this event can animate my community and point my community to become the way it used to be," she said.
Melendez says new housing is also being developed in the area, something else he says will help benefit the community.