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LIBERTY – Residents and businesses helped kick off a Sullivan Renaissance pilot program on June 6 to provide a face lift to the structures and parking areas on Church Street in the Village of Liberty.
The program will plant flowers, clean up debris and make improvements to the neighborhood while working toward a sense of beauty, safety and inclusion. The project was initiated by the Sullivan Renaissance Bilingual Advisory Committee. It is expected to complete its first phase by the end of August. It is designed to unify landlords and tenants, help the businesses, and provide a friendly neighborhood for the churches and residences.
Stilt walkers from NACL Theater in Highland Lake began the festivities by welcoming passers-by from South Main Street. The theater troupe will be back in the village as participants in Liberty’s July 4th celebration later this summer.
Renderings showing what Church Street can look like by artist Val Taggert were unveiled by Ari Mir-Pontier, the Sullivan Renaissance Liaison to the Spanish Speaking Community. Speakers included Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Renaissance Chair Sandra Gerry and Liberty Mayor Ron Stabak. Since many of the Church Street residents speak Spanish, the program was bilingual.
Activities and exhibitors included: a bilingual gardening workshop with Ari Mir-Pontier, Greater Liberty Chamber of Commerce, the Jeff Bank, Liberty Library, and Master Gardener Volunteers from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County, NACL, and Pam Zaitchick Master Facepainter. Free watermelon, ice cream and cookies were distributed to all. Sullivan County Visitors Association donated bottled water for the event.
“If successful, Church Street will serve as an inspiration and example of what is possible to accomplish with some determination, positive communication, working relationships and volunteerism,” said Ari Mir-Pontier.
Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation. Sponsors include Bold Gold Media Group/Thunder 102, FisherMears Associates, Kristt Company, Robert Green Dealerships, Sullivan County Democrat, The River Reporter, Thompson Sanitation, and WSUL/WVOS.
For more information about how to help with the Church Street Project, contact Sullivan Renaissance at 845-295-2445 or visit www.SullivanRenaissance.org.