Bill and Tony Lipuma, of Lipuma’s Coney Island — with Deputy City Manager Nik Banda — share their favorite memories and stories of downtown Rochester over the last 50 years for the first Front Porch Stories event July 18.

Bill and Tony Lipuma, of Lipuma’s Coney Island — with Deputy City Manager Nik Banda — share their favorite memories and stories of downtown Rochester over the last 50 years for the first Front Porch Stories event July 18.

Photo provided by downtown Rochester


New Front Porch Stories series continues with Mayor Rob Ray

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published August 14, 2019

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ROCHESTER — The Rochester Downtown Development Authority is giving the public the chance to hear from some of the most interesting people in town in a new series called Front Porch Stories.

“We think we have some pretty amazing people here in town, and there isn’t really a great outlet to tell those stories,” said DDA Executive Director Kristi Trevarrow.

Enter the Front Porch Stories series, which invites the public to bring their lawn chairs to the front porches of various homes in the area to learn more about local business owners, elected officials, historians and more.

“We are going to pop up on a front porch — and advertise that we are going to be closing down that block for a couple of hours — and hear somebody’s story about why they came to Rochester,” Trevarrow said. “This isn’t going to be a fancy event. It isn’t going to be high-tech. It’s just going to be people listening to somebody talking on their front porch about their story.”

The series kicked off July 18 with longtime downtown business owners Bill and Tony Lipuma, of Lipuma’s Coney Island, who shared their favorite memories and stories of downtown Rochester over the last 50 years.

The second event in the series will feature Rochester Mayor Rob Ray on Thursday, Aug. 22. The community is invited to bring their lawn chairs and blankets to Ray’s front porch, 894 Loggers Circle in Rochester. Lemonade and cookies will be supplied by the DDA.

“I am so excited to host Rochester’s next edition of Front Porch Stories,” Ray said in a statement. “Neighbors enjoying each other’s company and sharing stories on the most sincere of stages: the front porch. Mix in some hometown hospitality and you have the recipe to what makes Rochester ‘home’ to all of us.”

The final 2019 Front Porch Stories event will be held Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm farmhouse and will feature Museum Director Pat McKay.

For those who can’t make a particular event, Trevarrow said, all of the stories will be recorded and available online on downtown Rochester’s new YouTube channel.

“We don’t want to just know the stories. We want to tell them. We want to record them and make them shareable,” Trevarrow said. “We want people to feel engaged.”

Front Porch Stories is part of the DDA’s new Front Porch Project initiative, which officials said aims to improve the quality of life for residents and focuses on wellness, community, people and place.  

“The Front Porch Project is really focused on improving the quality of life for the residents of the greater Rochester area — so not just downtown, but the greater Rochester area — because a lot of people feel like we are their downtown, regardless of if they geographically live in the city of Rochester,” Trevarrow said.

DDA Chairman Mark Albrecht said the Front Porch Project initiative aims to bring back some old-fashioned values into the downtown.

“More importantly, it is taking what we’re doing in the DDA and pulling it back out into the community. People always think that the DDA is just focused on the DDA district, but with these Front Porch Stories, we’re taking our stories out into Rochester. … We want to take the message of downtown out into the community, so everybody benefits from the work that the DDA does,” he said.

For more information, contact the Rochester DDA at (248) 656-0060.

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