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Over $300k in awards given for renaissance

August 8, 2016

[BETHEL] – Hundreds of people attended the Sullivan Renaissance Awards Ceremony at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on Monday, August 8, as over $300,000 in grants and scholarships were awarded to communities throughout Sullivan County. 

The Awards Ceremony was the culmination of months of work on the part of municipalities, community organizations and volunteers to enhance gateways, public spaces and main streets.  Of significant note this year was the new Municipal Partnership Program competition which grew from a challenge to towns and villages to join in the Renaissance by enhancing code enforcement, caring for public spaces, beautifying gateways and creating healthy communities. 

It was one year ago that Renaissance Steering Committee Chair Sandra Gerry called on local leaders and municipal officials to help with the heavy lifting; saying that public policy and leadership were needed to take the grassroots volunteers efforts to the next level.  This year, Sandra noted how delighted she was to see how far the towns and villages have come in an effort to improve their appearance.


Municipal Partnership projects are designed to engage local governments in addressing issues related to the maintenance of public spaces, beautifying gateways, enhancing code enforcement and encouraging healthy communities.  Much like the Academy Awards, five videos crafted by videographer Isaac Green-Dieboll, were shown interspersed throughout the evening.  Awards in this category were presented by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther.

Golden Feather ($100,000 grant) secured by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther:

Town of Bethel

Silver Feather ($50,000) made possible by the generous gift of Tim Stoddard, former Sullivan Renaissance judge:

Town and Village of Liberty

Bronze Feather –Tied - ($25,000 each):

Town of Fallsburg

Village of Monticello

Judges’ Choice Award ($15,000):

Town of Thompson


Garden grant projects are made up of single elements such as a new sign or hanging baskets. 

First place - Dynamite Youth Center – Safe Keeping Pool Garden ($3000)

Second place - Ethelbert B. Crawford Library - Overstuffed Chair Reading Area ($2000)

Third place - Hudson River Healthcare in Monticello – New sign and Garden ($1000)


Mamakating Library for encouraging healthy communities

B.A.T.S. for Veterans for community involvement in support of veterans

Sunshine Hall Free Library for youth involvement

Dynamite Youth Center for use of signage and recycled material in landscape design


Community grant projects are made up of multiple elements such as park enhancements. 

First place – Neversink Renaissance ($12,000):

Second place – Roscoe Chamber of Commerce ($7000):

Third place – Liberty Central School ($5000):


Jeffersonville JEMS for event planning for leveraging food and cultural events

Town of Callicoon Veterans Memorial for additional memorial landscaping

Town of Fremont for Mileses Cemetery Restoration for Tree Removal and Drainage

Town of Freemont for Mileses Cemetery Restoration for Non Profit Foundation Creation


The winner of the $10,000 Community Mitzvah Award went to Camp HASC for its staff going above and beyond to ensure a tidy environment for its campers.  Second place award of $5000 went to American Theological in Kiamesha Lake; while third place of $3000 was awarded to Camp Silver Lake in Woodridge.  Camp Silver Lake was also given a Judges’ Choice Award of $1000 for its extensive landscaping along the driveway and parking lot.  This contest included nine seasonal colonies and camps in Sullivan County.


Jeffersonville JEMS won the “Best Overall Showing of Flowers Award” of $5000.  Judges were impressed by the use of Sullivan Renaissance 2016 collection, the intern program and educational programs.  The garden beds were “well maintained, well designed and very showy” while the hanging baskets were a “visual delight,” according to the judges.  The judges appreciated that the display “embodied all that Sullivan Renaissance hopes for in a spectacular show of color and community engagement that has made Jeffersonville a place you want to visit, perhaps to stay awhile.”

Other communities receiving $1000 Judges’ Choice Awards for flowers included: Village of Woodridge for “Best Street Scape Floral Display;” Roscoe Chamber of Commerce for “Best Incorporation of Art and History in its Floral Displays;” Neversink Renaissance for “Best Use of Native and Non-Invasive Plants in a Natural Setting;” and Narrowsburg Beautification Group for “Best Showing of Flowers with Community Involvement.”

The special Best Showing of Flowers Award for maintaining multiple gardens of $5000 was given to Livingston Manor Renaissance for “wowing the judges” with its multiple gardens.  The $3000 award for the “Best Single Garden Showing of Flowers” went to Forestburgh Playhouse. 

The judges also awarded Judges’ Choice Awards of $1000 for to Lumberland Parks & Recreation, Woodridge Kiwanis, Livingston Manor United Methodist Church and Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Swan Lake Renaissance was given a Special Recognition Award of $2000 for “Designing with the Natural Landscape.” 

Two community groups were recognized with Special Achievement Awards in the Maintenance category.  The Kiwanis Club of Woodridge was acknowledged for engaging new and existing volunteers with excellent communication and organizational skills.  Swan Lake Renaissance was awarded for excelling in engaging the entire community in beautification.


The SUNY Sullivan Foundation awarded one full time scholarship to Sheldon Tremblay, a volunteer who assisted in the spring cleanup and maintenance in the Phillipsport area. This scholarship is given  to a Sullivan County resident who is planning to attend SUNY Sullivan for the 2016-2017 academic year.


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 are for the spring semester at the college of one’s choice. 

  • Jordan Dorn                              University of Delaware
  • Samantha Dorn                         SUNY Geneseo
  • Mark Garigliano                         University of Notre Dame
  • Elizabeth Hannold                     Orange County Community College
  • Victoria Merton                          University of Albany
  • Mackenzie Mitchell                    Alfred University
  • Kate Reiser                               SUNY Cortland
  • Cristian Serapio                        SUNY Delhi


Volunteer coordinator Cara Kowalski recognized the Sullivan Renaissance Volunteer Corps:  Audrey Ackerman, Janet Barbarite, Hailey Butler, Roberta Chambers, Cindy Coker, Stephen Colman, Melinda Cormier, Tamara D’Antoni, Melissa DeMarmels, Karen Ellsweig, Raymond Evans, Bianca Gardner, Saraid Gonzalez, Julie Gray, Dennis Hewston, Lisa King, Regina LaCatena, Erin Lynch, Robert Maccagli, Mary Mancuso, Daniel McCormack, Keith McHenry, Kris Merklin, Victoria Merton, Perrin Miller, Diane Moss, Magie Niforis, Rosemary Paty, Myrna Richards, Margaret Rubin, Alphonso Russell, Anne-Louise Scandariato, Cristian Serapio, Brenda Sherman, Ronald Stabak, Ramona Texidor, Cheryl Towne, Georgiana Vogt, Janice Vooght, Jackie Williams and Matthew Williams.

Two volunteer members were recognized for going above and beyond the Volunteer Corps Program requirements.  Diane Moss was acknowledged for her tireless efforts to recruit new volunteers and tell others about Sullivan Renaissance while Anne-Louise Scandariato took the lead on coordinating all aspects Sullivan Renaissance’s gardening classes in seasonal communities.


Ari Mir-Pontier, Multicultural Community Liaison, asked the audience to help our county continue to grow into neighborhoods that are “happy, relaxed and satisfied”.  She described the work that the Sullivan Renaissance Bilingual Advisory Committee has done over the past two years to encourage residents to feel more comfortable in their communities.  Finally, Ari announced a Church Street block party in Liberty on September 10th, and a South Fallsburg Community Gardening Day on August 12th.


The 2016 year proved to be a dedicated group of young people.  From stepping up to volunteering beyond their assignments, brainstorming, committing to and organizing a day of service at Somerville Field in Monticello, they have impressed many.  This year’s interns are: Kristen Brooks, Ember Cemelli, Nathaniel DePaul, Jordan Dorn, Samantha Dorn, Kassandra Foertsch, Jane Hyman, Jiron Kevii, Arly Marin Leon, MacKenzie Mitchell, Morgan Mitchell, Kate Reiser, Shane Rennison, Megan Robisch, Ivonne Serapio, Adam Wilcox and Gillian Williams.


Sullivan Renaissance beautification projects were judged for aesthetic improvement, collaboration, youth involvement, permanence and an ability to be maintained.  Sullivan Renaissance invites individuals from outside of Sullivan County to serve as judges for the awards.  Each category has its own set of judges with unique credentials, background and experience that they bring to the program and our communities.  The team of judges included: Nicole Franzese, Donna Harrison, Michael Newhard, Peter Patel, Nancy Proyect, Ann Smith, R.J. Smith, Deborah Sweeton, Michael Sweeton, Lloyd Traven and Barbara Vincentsen.  The Community Mitzvah Awards were judged by Peter Cirillo, Rabbi Nate Steinberg and Deborah Sweeton. 

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

The program began with the Bethel Woods PLAY Music Program performing an original piece.  Senator John Bonacic, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Legislative Chairman Luis Alvarez offered their thanks to the audience for doing an outstanding job in lending a hand. Assemblywoman Gunther was grateful to the community leaders and municipalities who stepped in to assist with the work that volunteers are not in the position to tackle on their own.  As groups accepted their certificates, photographs of each project were displayed in a power point presentation created by Colleen Emery and Kane Sauchuk.  The event was coordinated by Saraid Gonzalez, and was simultaneously translated into Spanish with headsets available.

A video of the ceremony will soon be available online with the link posted on the Sullivan Renaissance YouTube page and the Sullivan Renaissance website.

Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation with support from Bold Gold Media Group/Thunder 102, Fisher Mears Associates, Kristt Company, Sullivan County Democrat, The River Reporter, Thompson Sanitation and WSUL/WVOS.  For information, contact 845-295-2445 or