By Eli Ruiz
LOCH SHELDRAKE A packed house Monday evening at SUNY Sullivan’s Seelig Theater watched the Narrowsburg Beautification Group (NBG) clinch the top Sullivan Renaissance prize, the Golden Feather, and the $25,000 grant that comes with it.
The NBG was recognized for their ambitious Category C project which focused on the Big Eddy Esplanade a project that was proposed years ago and seems to have gained some traction recently.
Since 2001, the NBG volunteers have put together a number of projects in and around Narrowsburg, funded in large part through grants from Sullivan Renaissance. The group has planted trees, shrubs and perennials in the Tusten Veterans Memorial Park, installed an eagle viewing platform on the Main Street deck, hosted an annual fund-raising Plant Swap and much more.
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, before handing out the oversized checks representing the prize money, took time to thank Sullivan Renaissance Chair Sandra Gerry for “the incredible work she’s done in our county. I don’t know what we would do without you, and this idea of this Renaissance has really changed the face of Sullivan County. ... Thank you!
“Since 2001 every corner of our county has participated in Sullivan Renaissance. ... It is important toward making Sullivan County an even better place to live,” added Gunther.
Category C Renaissance projects represent larger community wide efforts, tending to be more ambitious and complex, in multiple locations as part of a long-term development strategy.
This year saw three other groups vying for the coveted Golden Feather, all positively impacting their communities and Sullivan County as a whole.
The Liberty Community Development Corporation (CDC) took the second-place Silver Feather, garnering the group a $10,000 award for its efforts, focused on the LaPolt Park area as well as behind the Main Street Stage all the way to School Street in the village. The project also involved the addition of more than 1,000 square feet of space near the Creekside Park and the repaving of two lots, for which the group is seeking outside grants.
The CDC also took the Kristt Company-sponsored Best Garden Design Award for Category C projects and an extra $1,000 to boot.
The Rock Hill Business and Community Association took home $5,000 along with the Sullivan Renaissance Planning Award. The group breathed life into an empty lot on Rock Hill Drive, with a lot of help from the Rock Hill Fire Department and others.
The lot, which had become something of an eyesore with garbage strewn about, is now home to the Rock Hill Farmers Market.
In an interview with the Democrat, Sandra Gerry called this year’s class of Renaissance projects “amazing.”
“We feel so gratified with the beauty of the projects and the amount of flowers,” she affirmed. “Flowers have the power to make people smile.”
Asked how the $25,000 Renaissance grant will be used, NBG member Wanda Gangel said, “It will definitely go back into the community. What exactly we’ll do with it is undecided as of now, but we will be sitting down with the folks at Renaissance to go over what we can do with it.
“... We do, though, have a nice big wish list.”
Renaissance 2012 Winners
Category A projects are made up of single elements such as a new sign or hanging baskets.
• First place ($3000) Boy Scout Troop 101 of Bloomingburg nine hole mini golf course in town park
• Second place ($2000) The Recovery Center in Monticello sign and seating area
• Third place ($1000) Sullivan County Visitors Association in Liberty building landscaping
• Best Garden Design ($1000) Action Toward Independence in Monticello new garden bed
Category B projects are made up of multiple elements such as park enhancements.
• First place ($10,000) Friends of Dillon Park in Monticello Alice’s Wonderland (Phase II)
• Second place ($7000) Town of Lumberland Parks & Recreation Circle Park enhancements
• Third place ($5000) Town of Fremont sign and landscaping
• Historic Preservation ($1000) Sullivan County Historical Society celebrating history mural project
• Best Garden Design ($1000) Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department 911 Memorial Park
Category C projects are at multiple locations that incorporate beautification as part of a long-term communitywide strategy.
• Golden Feather ($25,000 grant) Narrowsburg Beautification Group
• Silver Feather ($10,000) Liberty Community Development Corp.
• Planning Award ($5000) Rock Hill Business & Community Association
• Best Garden Design ($1000) Liberty Community Development Corp.
The Sullivan County Community College Foundation awarded one part-time scholarship of $750 to a volunteer involved in a Sullivan Renaissance project in her community who is attending SCCC.
• Charles S. Gambino III of Wurtsboro
SULLIVAN RENAISSANCE SCHOLARSHIPS
The Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan Counties awarded nine Sullivan Renaissance scholarships to volunteers who made a significant contribution to a Sullivan Renaissance project. These scholarships to the college of one’s choice range from $500 to $1,000.
• Luis Arango Phillipsport, New York University
• Gabriella Ginsberg Monticello, Binghamton University
• Maya Grady Narrowsburg, Drexel University
• Lauren Hazen Lumberland, SUNY Oneonta
• Meaghan Hazen Lumberland, SUNY Brockport
• Kendall Menges Callicoon, Rochester Institute of Technology
• Brandon Rieber Rock Hill, SUNY Orange
• Patrick Reiser Lumberland, SUNY Oswego
• Amanda Rosenberger Callicoon, Oneonta State College
• Kane Sauchuk Swan Lake, Binghamton University
• Aaron Schmitt Livingston Manor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
• Rebecca Wood Smallwood, Keuka College