For a place that stands invisible in plain sight, there was plenty to do at Peace Village on Tuesday.
"You wouldn't even know they're here with this fence when you're driving down Broad Street. People have no clue, except for his rooftop lounge that you can see," joked Mike Kenny, pointing to one of village's rooftops equipped with a lawn chair.
Peace Village is the homeless encampment relocated from South Avenue, just beneath the Interstate 490 on-ramp to just west of downtown. Tuesday, hands moved broken lumber and tattered belongings to the curb in a bit of spring cleaning.
Bob Reiss is the village's unofficial mayor.
"We're trying to clean it up because we got to have a place to stay. The city's coming down hard on us ... trying to make the best of it, you know," Reiss said.
Bob calls Peace Village a place for the people that can't go into a shelter and don't want to be in that kind of environment. Human service agencies leave supplies and portable shelters that serve as storage.
Few people visit the encampment more than Mike Kenny.
"I should be cleaning my own yard, " the Greece contractor said.
When he's not installing floors, Kenny stops by the Industrial Street lot. He dropped a Christmas tree off there in December. Now he collects loading pallets, or skids for the camp to keep tents and people off the cold ground and abide by the city's non-permanent structure rules.
Mike's built four shelters here with scraps.
"We call them skid-loos, 'cause they're make out of skids, like an igloo."
When Mike's job fell through Tuesday, he headed into the sunshine and helped Bob sweep this site of tents and debris reduced by the winter.
"That's what the snow does to the tents. Can't hold up," Kenny said. "But hopefully the city comes and picks all that crap up."
Mike knows when the warmer months arrive and homeless shelters close, this place will fill with new people. He knows because he used to be a person who would live in a place like this.
"I'd rather be hands-on, than throw money and not know what it's doing. If I was homeless, this is where I'd be at," Kenny added.
The change of season means a fresh start here. RIT students will install a solar array to power lights and phone chargers. Bob’s always raking to clean up any needles or signs of drug use on the lots fresh black mulch.
One slip up by anyone here, and Peace Village could close.
"It's actually nice to have someone come by and help because not a lot of people do," said Reiss.
Spring cleaning may be a chore, but on a dead-end in Rochester it can be a way to help others.
"People ask me why I'm doing this," Kenny said. "I think I just hit my head and here I am. Thing to do. Right place, right time I guess."