Renaissance Association grants help spruce up neighborhoods


(Before and after photos of the curb garden was created in front of the home of Tanya Miller of West Fourth Street.)

The Oswego Renaissance Association  has awarded matching grants to more than 120 homes in the city of Oswego for neighborhood revitalization.

Renaissance Block Challenge Grants for exterior upgrades and beautification were awarded to 13 neighborhood blocks throughout the city.

The awards total $104,000, and are estimated to yield a minimum of a $208,000, up to a maximum of about $400,000, in combined matching funds and homeowner investments.

These estimates are based upon the outcome of this program in other cities, said association Director Paul Stewart.

The Renaissance Block Challenge grants were awarded to Oswego neighborhoods where five or more homes on the same blocks agreed to participate and apply for the grants, forming a coordinated group of neighbors who will work with the Oswego Renaissance Association to revitalize their neighborhoods over the next several years.

One applicant, Tanya Miller, of West Fourth Street, was excited about the potential for her block and began a significant new landscaping project regardless of the funding decision for her block.

“The positive response and commitment shown by my neighborhood to our Block Challenge gave me the confidence to go ahead with my curb garden,” said Miller.

“Getting to know my neighbors better and working together to improve our neighborhood and our city, has inspired me to make a much greater investment in terms of time and money into my home,” she said.

In addition to the physical investment in the targeted neighborhoods, each awarded neighborhood is also planning social activities to strengthen the neighborhood as a whole.

For the first time in several decades, this summer and fall, many neighborhoods will be bringing back block parties and other social events.

“My neighbors are excited about getting started on a phone tree to keep each other informed and  we are talking about getting together for a block party this summer,” said Karen Doten, of West Eighth Street.

The Renaissance Block Challenge Grants are a starting point in the association’s revitalization plan for city of Oswego neighborhoods.

“The ORA seeks future partnerships with Oswego neighborhood residents — through additional Neighborhood Pride Grants, the Paint Oswego program, and other programs — in the coming years,” said Stewart. “In all cases, the ORA seeks to match neighborhood residents’  commitment and drive for the long-term revitalization of their neighborhoods in the City of Oswego.”

The Renaissance Block Challenge Grants will also be available next year, Stewart said.

The association is funded by the Shineman Foundation, Pathfinder Bank and Novelis Oswego.

For additional information visit the Oswego Renaissance Association’s website,, or The Oswego Renaissance Association on Facebook.

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