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Downtown neighborhood group planning fund-raising event at Black Button

A guest bartending event is planned for 7 to 9 p.m. today at Black Button Distilling, 85 Railroad St., to raise money to support the Washington Square Park Community Association Inc. efforts to reinvigorate a section of downtown Rochester.

washsqpk2The Association officially incorporated in March 2017 as a non-profit organization. The 11-member, all-volunteer board is focused mainly on revitalizing the historic, one-acre Washington Square Park and immediate areas near GEVA Theatre.

Before the Association officially incorporated members had been informally tackling neighborhood issues with efforts such as neighborhood clean sweeps and the group ran the annual Movies with a Downtown View events.

The community association has already been working with community partners on several projects:

  • In August, the Association was awarded a $15,000 grant from the Rochester Area Community Foundation to work with the city of Rochester to revitalize Washington Square Park. In early 2018, the Association will collaborate with the Community Design Center of Rochester to do pre-development work. Proposed work includes the hiring of architectural, landscaping and planning consultants to help with architectural drawings, feasibility studies, and other tasks.
  • The Association joined the city of Rochester and the Military History Society of Rochester to initiate the restoration of the Austrian cannon at Washington Square Park. The Italian government bestowed the cannon to the city in the 1920s to honor local Italian-Americans who supported Italy during World War I. The cannon is currently being restored and will be unveiled in the near future.
  • Hundreds of people attended the Association’s Movies with a Downtown View event on Aug. 18 at MLK Jr. Memorial Park to watch the movie Hidden Figures.
  • During the spring and summer Washington Square Park neighborhood banners were placed in the area.
  • City clean-up efforts have included restoring and repainting the base for the Austrian cannon, cleaning up the Soldiers and Sailors monument, and removing the old, dingy temporary stage from the park.
  • The website has been launched.

A portion of all sales at Black Button will be donated to the Association. The Association has a goal of raising $25,000. The group has already raised more than 60 percent of that goal.

More information is available on Facebook at



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