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Planting What Grows Best in the Region – How Easy Is That

April 20, 2012

[LIBERTY] – Last evening volunteers from dozens of communities throughout Sullivan County received information about the best plants to grow in the region – and what kind of containers to put them in – while picking up grants for beautification and community development projects.

Sullivan Renaissance announced over $100,000 in funding for 40 grants and three special initiatives during its annual Spring Forum on April 19 at the CVI Building in Liberty.  The list of participating communities and projects is attached.  Additional grants will be awarded over the next several weeks. 

Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.  Sponsorships are provided by WSUL/WVOS for Category A projects; Thunder 102 for Category B projects; and Thompson Sanitation for seasonal projects.  The Sullivan County Democrat, The River Reporter and FisherMears Associates are also major sponsors.

Thursday’s program featured a presentation entitled “Container Gardening – How Easy Is That” by Amy Lewis, Mary Lewis and Vivian Multari-Ginsberg.  They outlined how to design site specific “garden-scapes,” give the containers the “Wow” factor by including the Renaissance Collection, and use the best practices to plant and maintain the containers.

The Renaissance Collection of annuals and perennials includes nine plants that do well in the Sullivan County climate and are designed to assist communities as the basis of new gardens or as additions to existing beds.  The plants were displayed at the forum, and the collection is available from local nurseries and garden centers.

The program opened with the singing of “Imagine” by Amanda Langseder, Director of Programming at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County.  The program was followed by refreshments and distribution of grants and “flower dollars” to community projects. 

Beginning its 12th year, Sullivan Renaissance is helping projects expend less effort while becoming more successful, in part through better garden design and planning.  A garden design panel reviewed plans for all of the new 2012 projects, while communities completed Maintenance Assessment Forms for their existing gardens.

Many projects will also receive support from paid interns through a partnership with Sullivan County Workforce Development


The five categories of grants announced on Thursday, include:

·         13 single element projects in Category A received $1000 grants and $100 in flower dollars;

·         8 multiple element projects in Category B got $1500 grants and $250 in flower dollars;

·         4 community-wide projects in Category C were given $5000 grants and $500 in flower dollars;

·         11 maintenance support grants designed to meet specific needs in the community received $1000 grants, $250 in flower dollars and various kinds of technical assistance;

·         4 environmental initiatives totaling $8500 were awarded for: a composting project; accessible planting beds and solar powered water fountain at a community garden; a demonstration apple orchard; and continued work on an educational trail and outdoor learning space.

Sullivan Renaissance Flower Dollars are a resource that allows groups to purchase additional annual plants by July 8.  The flower dollars can only be used at local participating nurseries, greenhouses or garden centers; and they must be matched with plantings of an equal or greater value.

The beautification and maintenance efforts must be completed by August 6.  Those vying for a Phase II grant will be judged between August 9 and 12.  The second round of grants will be announced at the Sullivan Renaissance Awards Ceremony on Monday, August 13 at SUNY Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake. 

Phase II awards range between $1000 and $10,000 – with the Golden Feather Grant of $25,000 going to a Category C project.  A special Showing of Flowers award up to $5000 will be given to the community that has the best showing of flowers, along with four $1000 judge’s choice flower awards.  There are also two $1000 Special Awards in each category: historic and best design ($1000).  A Silver Feather Award of $10,000 is given in Category C, as well as a $5000 award for planning.  All projects that finish will receive completion grants.

In partnership with the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan, a limited number of scholarships to the undergraduate college of one’s choice will be offered to volunteers who make a significant contribution to a Renaissance project.  The SUNY Sullivan Foundation also offers full and part-time scholarships to Renaissance volunteers.  

Grants for seasonal demonstration projects (with support from Thompson Sanitation), additional environmental initiatives, technical assistance and mini-grants will be awarded at a later date.


Sullivan Renaissance also announced three special initiatives.

  • Sullivan Renaissance is continuing to focus special attention on the Village of Monticello for a third year, with support secured in part by Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey.  In addition to collaborating with the Village Board, the Monticello Business Association and the newly-formed Monticello Beautification Group, Sullivan Renaissance is working with a firm to design a way-finding sign system to link Broadway with municipal parking lots.
  • Recognizing their importance as first and lasting impressions, Sullivan Renaissance is also continuing work on three gateway projects.  The first is a collaborative effort with the Sullivan County Division of Public Works to refurbish the terminal and grounds at the Sullivan County International Airport in Bethel, with support secured in part by NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther.  The others are improvements to Route 17 Exit 104 and the Shortline Bus Terminal in Monticello.
  • The Catskill Edible Garden Project is a new initiative this year, designed to grow the next generation of food entrepreneurs.  This is a partnership among Sullivan Renaissance, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and Green Village Initiative.  The program will work at school demonstration sites and at CCE to increase access to healthy food and raise awareness of food resources, nutrition and agricultural career options by incorporating a hands-on experience for youth. 

Sullivan Renaissance collaborates with many organizations and agencies.  The Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce sponsors the merchant discount program with almost 75 businesses offering discounts for community projects. 

Several organizations help local groups supplement their projects by providing some level of volunteer help such as general clean-up, site preparation, planting and painting.  Other assistance may also be available.  Some of these agencies include: Alternatives to Incarceration; Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H; Daytop; Delaware Valley Job Corps Center; New Hope Community; Occupations, Inc.; Retired Senior Volunteer Program; Sullivan County BOCES; and Workforce Development Board of Sullivan County, Inc. 

Since 2001 Sullivan Renaissance has funded hundreds of projects throughout Sullivan County.  For more information about programs, call Sullivan Renaissance at 845-295-2445 or visit the website at




(with support from WSUL/WVOS)

Bloomingburg   Boy Scout Troop 101          Nine hole mini golf course

Ferndale          CCE Master Gardeners       Welcome sign gardens

Ferndale          SCVA                                Building landscaping

Glen Spey       Mackenzie School              Garden signs and landscaping

Liberty              United Methodist Church    Building landscaping

Liv. Manor         Congregation Agudas Achim     Welcome sign and garden

Liv. Manor         Livingston Manor Free Library    Sign replacement and garden

Monticello         Action Toward Independence      New garden bed

Monticello         Hudson River Healthcare        ‘An Invitation to Beauty & Health’

Monticello         Islamic Cultural Center          Building and yard landscaping

Monticello         Seventh Day Adventist Church    Sign and gardens

Monticello         The Recovery Center             Sign and seating area

Mountaindale    Yeshiva Zichron Mayir            Yeshiva beautification


(with support from Thunder 102)

Bethel               Smallwood-Mongaup Valley FD     911 Memorial Park

Forestburgh      Forestburgh Playhouse                  ‘Flowers for Forestburgh’

Fremont CenterTown of Fremont                          Sign and landscaping

Glen Spey         Lumberland Park & Recreation     Circle Park enhancements

Hurleyville         SC Historical Society                   Celebrating history mural

Lk. Huntington   Cochecton Vol. Ambulance   Community Park enhancements

Monticello         Friends of Dillon Park            Alice’s Wonderland (Phase II)

Phillipsport       Community Center                 Phillipsport gateway garden



Callicoon          Business Association         Railroad Square improvements

Liberty          Community Development Corp.     Liberty Downtown Park

Narrowsburg     Narrowsburg Beautification Group      Big Eddy Esplanade

Rock Hill           Business & Community Asso.    Rock Hill farmer’s market


Bloomingburg               Town of Mamakating                                        

Ferndale                       Loomis Area Watch                                          

Jeffersonville                Jeffersonville JEMS                                         

Livingston Manor           Livingston Manor Renaissance              

Monticello                     Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless     

Neversink                      Neversink Renaissance                                     

Roscoe                         Roscoe-Rockland Chamber of Commerce         

Swan Lake                    Swan Lake Renaissance                                    

Woodbourne                 Woodbourne Action Committee                        

Woodridge                    Woodridge Kiwanis                                          

Wurtsboro                     Wurtsboro Renaissance                                    


Liberty              Cornell Cooperative Extension      ‘Compost Happens’ project

Monticello        RJK School Ecology Club       Enhance a community garden

Neversink          Tri Valley Central School       Apple orchard demonstration

Roscoe            Chamber of Commerce          Riverside Park trail and education



(with support secured in part by U.S. Representative Maurice D. Hinchey and NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther)

Monticello          BeautificationGroup/VillageBoard   Broadway Beautification

Sullivan County   Gateway Projects               Airport, Exit 104, Bus Terminal

Sullivan County   Various locations                Catskill Edible Garden Project