The Oswego Renaissance Association began accepting pre-applications for the “Renaissance Block Challenge” grant program April 2.
As the first of several revitalization and beautification projects to come to the city of Oswego this year, these are matching grants to property owners in the city of Oswego. The Oswego Renaissance Asociation will match expenses, dollar-for-dollar, up to the first $1,000 for exterior improvements to homes and properties in targeted neighborhoods in the city.
The deadline for submitting pre-applications in April 21; with final applications due May 15.
Applications and details are available at the ORA website at www.oswegonyonline.com.
“A large number of residents in neighborhoods throughout Oswego are very excited about this opportunity,” said association Director Paul Stewart.
“Many residents and neighbors are passionate about the revitalization of their neighborhoods, and when multiple neighbors work and invest together, they often have confidence to invest more than the matching amounts — both financially and socially,” he said.
“The ORA is growing partnerships with these residents in a multi-year strategy to restore beauty, vibrancy and community to Oswego neighborhoods.,” Stewart said.
Tanya Miller, a homeowner on West Fourth Street, has been organizing her neighbors to apply.
“Our area of West Fourth and Schuyler has had an overwhelmingly positive response to the program, with planned projects ranging from new fencing to garden plantings to new siding,” Miller said.
“I myself am planning to have my house painted in a Victorian era color palette and could not be more excited,” she said. “The most rewarding aspect of the program so far, however, has been the opportunity I have had to get to know so many more of my wonderful neighbors.”
Another Oswegonian, Casey Towne, of East Utica Street, also plans to apply.
“I am so excited to see this plan come to fruition. The response on my block has been great, with over half the households participating in the application,” Towne said.
“Summer plans for our block include repair and replacement of fences, paint, windows, landscaping, porches and a roof. More important than the physical improvements are the social strengths that we are building upon. We are bringing back block parties, establishing a block directory and planning group yard sales and clean ups,” Towne said.
Four areas in the city, each 15-25 blocks in size, have been targeted for the program. Houses located in or very close (within a block) to the target zones may apply.
Applications are awarded to clusters of houses. Each cluster must include a minimum of 5 households on or near the same street, and fill out a Pre-Application Form.
Applications require coordination among neighboring households, so the block cluster works as a team to improve their homes and neighborhoods. The Oswego Renaissance Association expects to grant awards to 10-15 clusters this year.
Renaissance Block Challenge grants will cover half of the homeowner’s investment (minus sales tax). If the application is funded, a homeowner who invests $1,000 on a project would be reimbursed half or $500; likewise a homeowner who invests $2,000, or more, into a project would be reimbursed half, or $1000.00.
A homeowner who invests more than $2,000 total on a project would be reimbursed the maximum $1,000.
Before and after pictures of the completed work, along with copies of all receipts related to expenses of each project must be submitted once the work is completed. All work for the 2014 Block Challenge Grants must be completed by Oct. 31, 2014.
Once the work is completed, property owners will receive a matching reimbursement check in approximately 4 weeks.
“My neighbors and I are really excited,” said Rob Way, of East Seventh Street. “It’s great motivation. Some of my neighbors are looking to replace their porches, others just to touch up the trim around their houses. Either way, it’s a terrific way for us all to invest together in our block.”
Last year, the ORA, participated in revitalization projects at Franklin Square Playground, Montcalm Park, as well as the Bridge Street Tree Canopy Project.
For more information visit the ORA website at www.oswegonyonline.com