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Bonacic and Gunther continue support for beautification program

February 14, 2006

[FERNDALE] – Close to two hundred people attended the 10th Annual Winter Forum and Expo on February 11 as details of the 2006 Sullivan Renaissance Grant Program were unveiled at the CVI Building in Ferndale.  

“At Sullivan Renaissance we are finding that the more we partner, the stronger we grow and we can see that strength here today!” said Sandra Gerry, who chairs Sullivan Renaissance. 


State Senator John Bonacic announced a $75,000 grant to help fund Sullivan Renaissance, continuing his support for a second year.  Last year’s award funded the Category C projects, which are working on three-year community development plans.


Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther renewed her commitment to fund the $50,000 Golden Feather Award for the Category C projects.  Last year the grant went to Lumberland’s Circle Park; it was awarded to Liberty ALIVE in 2003. 


The theme of Sullivan Renaissance 2006 is “It’s Show Time!” 


“After five years of cleaning, planting, planning and sprucing up, we must admit that we are looking better.  But there is still much to do, as we have company coming this summer – lots of company,” Sandra Gerry said, “We will be in the spotlight.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to show our county at its best and be welcoming and gracious to our guests.”


Filled with exhibitors and participants, the CVI atrium was transformed into a showcase of flowers and spring accessories to assist with beautification projects and inspire volunteers.


Winners of the high school art student poster contest were selected by forum attendees.  First place went to Erin DeLaurencio of BOCES.  Honorable mentions went to: Alex Murns and Hana Girard of BOCES; Nicole Steele of BOCES; and Emily Zier of Monticello High School.  The posters will be used to increase awareness of the cleanup efforts and help inspire the public to participate. 


“The strength of Sullivan Renaissance is that it encompasses the whole county, it isn’t directed to any one particular town or village or event,” said Sullivan County Clerk George Cooke, who gave the keynote address. 


Speaking of the future, Cooke said, “Let’s stop garbage before it becomes garbage.  We need new and innovative ways of addressing our garbage, like examining the packaging and taking recycling seriously.”


Six workshops addressed subjects to assist volunteers in their own communities: Planning Your Garden – Right Plant-Right Place; YOUth Can Make a Difference; Sullivan Renaissance 101; Sullivan 2020 Toolbox – How to Make it Work for You; Code Enforcement and Property Assessment; and Volunteers – How to Find Them – How to Keep Them.


New programs for Sullivan Renaissance 2006 include: a Municipal Clean-up Pilot Program in partnership with the Sullivan County Legislature; a limited number of matching grants for seasonal communities; $200 mini-grants for communities that just want to plant flowers; new Phase II grants for a “Showing of Flowers” and “Project Maintenance.”  The Gardening Internship Youth Program will continue, in partnership with the Center for Workforce Development.


Sullivan Renaissance applications are due on March 20; grants will be awarded on March 30; projects must be completed in August. 


Exhibitors included: ACM Playgrounds Recreational Products; Catskill Center for Conservation & Development; Catskill Perennials; Daytop Swan Lake; Gardens by Kelley; Korwan’s Nursery & Woodcarving; ML Miller Studios Chainsaw Carvings & Signs; The Outlet Florist & Greenhouses; Party Master Parties & Fundraising Events; Safer Landings; Sullivan County BOCES; Sullivan County Center for Workforce Development; Sullivan County Chamber & Sullivan Hospitality; Sullivan County Division of Public Works; and Wood Classics, Fine Teak Garden Furnishings.


This year’s “Sullivan First Achievement Awards” were given to: Ruth Jones of Kittatinny Canoes for her ongoing efforts to organize the annual Delaware River Clean-Up; Kathy Scullion of Sullivan County Community College for her commitment to education and promotion of environmental stewardship; Tom Edwards of White Sulphur Springs for his work to create a Veteran’s Memorial at the White Sulphur Springs Firemen’s Park; Irwin Siegel Agency in Rock Hill for the ongoing and extensive landscaping of its office building; The Cutting Garden for the revitalization of its building in Youngsville and for the ongoing beauty that it offers in the opportunity to cut fresh flowers from the garden; Gusar’s Pharmacy for the reconstruction of its storefront in Monticello, one of the first businesses to improve its façade and enhance the appearance of Broadway; Bradstan Country Hotel in White Lake for its continued commitment to the aesthetics of its building and grounds; Trout Unlimited for its work to protect and enhance the thermal ecological health and habitat of the Upper Delaware River system; and Woodridge Renaissance for ongoing grassroots efforts that have resulted in the enhancement of the Village of Woodridge.


Other forum highlights included: culinary students from the Delaware Valley Job Corps Center helping to prepare and serve the light breakfast; Liberty High School students assisting with coordination; and Sabrina Artel interviewing participants for her “Trailer Talk” radio program.


“We were pleased to have volunteers from Liberty High School work with us as ambassadors for the day – greeting guests and documenting the work shops,” said Denise Frangipane, who organized the forum with Steering Committee member Dali Roosa.


Sullivan Renaissance provides communities with seed money to compete in a beautification contest, while building a sense of pride and spirit in the community.  Sullivan Renaissance is a program of the Beaverkill Foundation with support from the Gerry Foundation.  It has funded over 165 projects in all 6 villages and 15 towns in Sullivan County over the last five years. 


For information, contact Sullivan Renaissance at 845-295-2445 or Representatives of Sullivan Renaissance will visit a community to explain the program.


Photographs of Saturday’s event are available electronically.

For more information, contact: Glenn Pontier at 845-295-2442 (