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Awards Ceremony Held at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

August 11, 2014

[BETHEL] – Hundreds of people attended the two hour Sullivan Renaissance Awards Ceremony on Monday, August 11, as almost $150,000 in grants and scholarships were awarded to winning communities throughout Sullivan County.  The ceremony returned to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, this time in the Event Gallery.

The Phillipsport Community Center received the Golden Feather, a $25,000 grant presented by NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther.  It was given to one of five large community projects that exhibited the highest level of excellence by incorporating beautification as part of a long-term strategy.  The Village of Jeffersonville received the second place Silver Feather Award of $10,000.  The Rock Hill Fire Department and the Rock Hill Business and Community Association got the $5000 award for the community’s planning efforts.

The winner of the $10,000 Community Mitzvah Award went to Camp Bnos Ahavas Israel in Liberty for beautifying its facility.  Second place award of $5000 went to Khal Divre Chaim Bungalow Colony in Kauneonga Lake; while third place of $3000 was awarded to American Theological Camp in Kiamesha.  Camp Simcha in Glen Spey received a special $5000 “Award of Excellence” as a role model for all institutions in Sullivan County.  This contest included ten camps and bungalow colonies in Sullivan County.  The three judges from outside the county were: Rabbi Joel Schwab of Middletown, Mary Lewis of Cornwall and Country Yossi Toiv of Brooklyn.

Flower awards went to eleven communities this year. 

Dynamite Youth Center was recognized with the “Best Overall Showing of Flowers Award” of $5000.  Judges were impressed by the overall number of gardens, planters and displays; an abundance of color, texture, unique combinations and liberal use of Sullivan Renaissance 2014 collection; innovative designs, including vertical plantings, and the scale of gardens that were appropriate for the size of the buildings and wall spaces; the appropriate mix of perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees to create a year round appeal while encouraging pollination for sustainability; good use of native and non-invasive plants; and thoughtful and reflective signage that entices the visitor to explore and enjoy the multiple gardens.

Other communities receiving $1000 Judges’ Choice Awards for flowers included: CCE Master Gardeners for  the “Best Use of the Sullivan Renaissance Collection;” Liberty United Methodist Church for the “Best New Garden in an Urban Setting;” Long Eddy Renaissance for “Best Innovative and Historical Community Display” and St. Peter’s Regional School for the “Best Creative Use of Color.”

A special “Best Showing of Flowers Award – Maintenance” of $5000 was given to Narrowsburg Beautification Group – for “wowing the judges” with its multiple gardens.   Judging criteria was based on an abundance and variety of colorful flowers, number of gardens, complexity of design and the variety of plants used.  A $3000 award for the “Best Single Garden” went to the Sullivan County Visitors Association. 

Four other communities receiving $1000 Judges’ Choice Awards – Maintenance included: Callicoon Business Association for “Vibrant Use of Color in the Business District;” Hurleyville-Sullivan First for “Beautification Efforts in All Aspects;” Livingston Manor Renaissance for “Consistently Maintained Gardens” and Neversink Renaissance for “Unifying Their Community with Flowers.” 

Grants – ranging from $1000 to $25,000 – were awarded to projects in Categories A, B and C.  Some projects were also recognized with Special Awards for history, youth engagement and environmental stewardship.  All of the communities that completed projects received a grant based on the size of their category, as well as certificates of recognition from Sullivan Renaissance and area legislators.


Category A projects are made up of single elements such as a new sign or hanging baskets.  This category was made possible, in part, through the sponsorship of WVOS/WSUL.

First place ($3000)

           Swan Lake Fire Department – Firehouse Sign Garden

Second place ($2000)

           Roscoe Presbyterian Church – Church Landscaping

Third place ($1000)

           Lake Huntington Fire Department – Memorial Garden

SPECIAL AWARDS – Sponsored by Sullivan County Democrat

Best Youth Engagement ($1000)

           Liberty United Methodist Church – Church Landscaping (Phase III)

Historic Preservation ($250)

           Liberty Museum & Arts Center – Museum Façade Enhancements


Category B projects are made up of multiple elements such as park enhancements.  This category was made possible, in part, through the sponsorship of Thunder 102/Bold Gold Media.

First place ($10,000):

           Dynamite Youth Center – Landscaping and Sign Garden

Second place ($7000):

           St. Peter’s Regional School – School Landscaping

Third place ($5000):

           Roscoe Rockland Chamber – Revamping Main Street

SPECIAL AWARDS – Sponsored by The River Reporter

Best Youth Engagement ($500 each)

           Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners – Centennial Entrance Garden

           Dynamite Youth Center – Landscaping and Sign Garden

           Roscoe Rockland Chamber – Revamping Main Street

           St. Peter’s Regional School – School Landscaping

Environmental Stewardship ($500)

           Roscoe Rockland Chamber – Revamping Main Street


Category C projects are at multiple locations that incorporate beautification as part of a long-term community wide strategy.  Awards in the category were presented by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther.

Golden Feather ($25,000 grant):

           Phillipsport Community Center – Phillipsport Beautification

Silver Feather ($10,000):

           Village of Jeffersonville – Backyard Park Enhancements

Planning Award ($5000):

           Rock Hill Fire Department/Rock Hill Business Assoc. – Firemen’s Field Beautification

SPECIAL AWARDS – Sponsored by Kristt Company

Best Youth Engagement ($1000)

           Rock Hill Fire Department/Rock Hill Business Assoc. – Firemen’s Field Beautification

Environmental ($1000)

           Long Eddy Renaissance – Hamlet Beautification

Historic Preservation ($1000)

           Swan Lake Renaissance – Stone Castle Garden

The Phillipsport Community Center project will be on display during a “Golden Feather Celebration” on Saturday, August 23.  Contact Sullivan Renaissance for more details.

Sullivan Renaissance beautification projects were judged for aesthetic improvement, collaboration, youth involvement, permanence and an ability to be maintained.  The team of eleven judges from outside Sullivan County included: Diane Blair, Nicole Franzese, Donna Harrison, Michael Newhard, Linda Onofry, Peter Patel, Nancy Proyect, Odette Sabourin-Dumais, Karen Schneller-McDonald, Ann Smith, Deborah Sweeton and Michael Sweeton.

Before introducing the communities in the Maintenance Support Program, horticultural coordinator Diana Weiner introduced members of the design panel that reviewed gardens during the application process.  This year’s panelists included: Marietta Beanland, Peg Berg, Maureen Charde, Kathy Davidoff, Caroline DeWilde, Susan Dollard, Gay Donofrio, Kathy Fielding, Kate Honders, Jarna Maniguet, Laurie McFadden, Denise Patti, Nancy Schunk, Danuta Skorulska, Irene Stover, Barbara Sush and AnnaLise Vogel.

Diana Weiner also recognized the garden centers and nurseries that sold the Renaissance Collection of plants.  They were: Delaware Valley Farm Home & Garden in Callicoon, Laurel Grove Greenhouse in Port Jervis, Liberty Home Garden & Pet, L & M Greenhouses in Bethel, Manza’s Family Farm in Montgomery, Monticello Farm Home & Garden, Monticello Greenhouses, Inc. and Vita’s Farm & Garden in Jeffersonville.


The Maintenance Support Program provided financial support and technical assistance to established groups with a history of Sullivan Renaissance projects.  Participants received up to $1000, a Merchant Discount Card, Flower Dollars, Bulb Dollars, assistance in organizing volunteer help, additional funding for infrastructure improvements, and other technical and gardening help. 

Eleven participants had multiple garden locations: Callicoon Business Association, Hurleyville-Sullivan First, Liberty Community Development Corp., Livingston Manor Renaissance, Mountaindale Action Committee, Narrowsburg Beautification Group, Neversink Renaissance, White Sulphur Springs Sullivan First, Woodbourne Action Committee, Woodridge Kiwanis and Wurtsboro Renaissance.

Eleven participants had single garden locations: Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department in Bethel, Town of Mamakating Park in Bloomingburg, St. James’ Episcopal Church in Callicoon, Sullivan County Visitors Association in Ferndale, Highland Lake Fire Department, Sullivan County Historical Society in Hurleyville, Bethlehem Temple Church in Monticello, Hudson River Healthcare in Monticello, Yeshiva Zichron Meir in Mountaindale, YMCA of Sullivan County in Rock Hill and Woodridge Housing Authority.


The Sullivan County Community College Foundation awarded two full time scholarships of $1000 to volunteers involved in Sullivan Renaissance projects who are attending SUNY Sullivan.

           Brittany Fuller of Livingston Manor – SUNY Sullivan

           Madison McCormack of Jeffersonville – SUNY Sullivan


The Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan Counties awarded eight Sullivan Renaissance scholarships to volunteers who made a significant contribution to a Sullivan Renaissance project.  These scholarships to the college of one’s choice are of various amounts up to $2000. 

           Taylor Goudreau – Wurtsboro/Mamakating – Binghamton University

           Meaghan Hazen – Lumberland – SUNY Brockport

           Andrea McKerrell – Lumberland – SUNY Cortland

           Jordan Mirch – Long Eddy – Delaware Valley College

           Amanda Rosenberger – Callicoon – SUNY Oneonta

           Kane Sauchuk – Swan Lake Renaissance – Binghamton University

           Peter Vorstadt – Highland Lake Fire Department – York College of Pennsylvania

           Mathew Young – Mamakating Town Hall/Historical Society – SUNY Plattsburgh


The 2014 interns are: Joseph Aiken, Hannah Bisland, Celina Castellano, Blake Costa, Collin Frost, Britanny Fuller, Taylor Goudreau, Jane Hyman, Matthew Kerendian, Madison McCormack, Jordan Mirch, Ronj Padu, Sabrena Smith, Djani Torres and Manual Valentin.  Program assistant Jennifer Avila helped to coordinate the intern program.


Volunteer coordinator Cara Kowalski introduced members of the Sullivan Renaissance Volunteer Corps.

           First Year Members: Debra Cortese, Tamara D’Antoni, Melissa DeMarmels, Margaret Dryer, Ray Evans, Karen Kerendian, Regina LaCatena, Beth Mastro, Kelly McCowen, Steve Melendez and Rosemary Sherman.

           Second Year Members: Melinda Cormier, Marjorie Evans, Michelle Guidera, Mary Mancuso, Daniel McCormack, Meaghan McCormack, Diane Moss, Margaret Rubin and Eric Schramm.

The ceremony began with the playing of “Do Something Good” by Barry and Ken Somerville.  Sandra Gerry recognized dignitaries and thanked participants for the work they are doing.  Sullivan County Legislative Chair Scott Samuelson thanked everyone for their contributions.

Project recipients received certificates of excellence from Sullivan Renaissance, as well as individual certificates from U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Representative Chris Gibson, NYS Senator John Bonacic, NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, NYS Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney and the Sullivan County Legislature. 

As groups accepted their certificates, photographs of each project were displayed in a power point presentation created by Colleen Emery, using photographs taken by Jason Dole and the Renaissance staff or submitted by the participants.  Photographer Jonathan Hyman captured the award presentations on film.  The event was planned by Saraid Gonzalez, who also created the program with design help from Helen Budrock.

Before the ceremony, attendees viewed displays of the projects and enjoyed the music of the Somerville Brothers.  Refreshments included desserts supplied by Erin Lipsky and staff at Granite Associates. 

Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.  For information about Sullivan Renaissance, contact 845-295-2445 or