By Nathan Mayberg
FERNDALE April 5, 2005 Sullivan Renaissance kicked off its new year by awarding a record 42 beautification grants to community groups throughout the county at a ceremony at One Cablevision Center in Ferndale last Thursday.
Twenty $1,000 grants, 18 $1,500 grants, and four $5,000 grants were handed out.
Sullivan County is in very good hands, said Sullivan Renaissance founder Sandra Gerry, referencing the myriad groups working to improve the county.
Gerry said the groups were starting a new wheel of beautification and community involvement to the area.
Glenn Pontier, Sullivan Renaissance Program Coordinator, announced that those involved in class B projects, who receive an initial grant of $1,500, would be competing for a $10,000 first place grant, $7,000 second place grant and the $5,000 third place grant. Those awards will be given in August, after the groups have started work and are judged.
Class B beautification projects include the Town of Delaware Hall in Hortonville, the Liberty Pavilion and Walnut Park in Liberty, businesses on Lake Street and Main Street in Liberty including the Liberty Free Theatre, and the art gallery in Mountaindale.
Perhaps the most ambitious-sounding project in class B was by the Jeffersonville Enhances Main Street (JEMS) group, which wants to landscape the original school building in Jeffersonville, based on its plans from 1938, which were never completed. The school is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The group also wants to build an athletic storage facility for the Sullivan West school.
The Neversink group announced that they would be contributing to the building of an addition to the Daniel Pierce Library in Grahamsville and the improvement of the Tri-Valley School, in addition to placing 180 hanging baskets and 80 large tubs throughout the corridor. They also intend to improve the local Little League baseball field.
Fourteen groups vied for the class C project, but only four were chosen. Each will be given a $5,000 stipend to begin their work. In August, they will receive an additional $5,000 completion grant. The top project will receive the $50,000 Golden Feather Award.
The project groups include the Barryville Chamber of Commerce, which will work on the Route 97 corridor; the Bethel Local Development Corporation, which will focus on Kauneonga Lake in preparing for the development related to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts; Hurleyville Sullivan First plans to work on a Veterans Park in honor of Frances Currey, the hamlets World War II Congressional Medal of Honor recipient; and Lumberland Circle, which will work on the Lumberland Circle Park.
In addition, each of the 42 groups may compete for the new Historic Preservation Awards and Environmental Impact Awards. Each group will be given a paid intern to help them with their projects.
Also at the meeting, Joyce Salimeno, who founded Sullivan First, announced that her group was merging with Sullivan Renaissance, since they both seek to achieve the same mission. The new organization will retain the Sullivan Renaissance name.