2018 Renaissance Block Challenge Applications Available Soon

452 Front Street – part of the 2017 RBC Front Street East neighborhood cluster

Since 2011, 35 neighborhoods have participated in the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation’s Renaissance Block Challenge (RBC) with almost 350 property owners investing more than $975,000 in exterior improvements and repairs. The RBC program, which assists neighborhood homeowners with exterior home improvements, is continuing for the seventh year.

Pre-applications for neighborhoods interested in participating in the 2018 Renaissance Block Challenge (RBC) program will be available on the JRC’s website jamestownrenaissance.org, under ”Healthy Neighborhoods” starting Monday, October 2nd. The pre-applications will be due Friday, December 8th.

City residents who would like to participate in the Renaissance Block Challenge need to form a neighborhood cluster with a minimum of five property owners that can include homeowners, landlords and businesses. Once a group has formed, the pre-application process can start.

In the neighborhood applications, participants outline exterior improvements they wish to complete and skills they can bring to projects in their cluster. Projects funded in the program include painting; porch repair; soffit repair; sidewalk repair; mailboxes; exterior lighting; front-yard landscaping; front doors/windows; driveways; driveway aprons; and gutters.

Important dates for the 2018 Renaissance Block Challenge:

Monday, October 2, 20172018 Pre-application Available
Tuesday, October 10, 20172018 RBC application workshop
Thursday, October 12, 20172018 RBC application workshop
Friday, December 8, 2017Complete pre-application due
January 2018Invitation to final application
Friday, March 9, 2018Final applications due
Friday, March 23, 2018Finalist announced

For 2018, each property owner is eligible for a match up to $2,000 to facilitate their projects. Aside from matching grant funding, participating homeowners have access to discounts from sponsoring hardware stores and garden centers as well as discounts on coordinated purchasing of materials, services and design.

Funding for the Renaissance Block Challenge program is being provided by the John Alfred and Oscar Johnson Memorial Trust, with support from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation , The Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, and The Lenna Foundation. In Addition, the following businesses are some of those providing special discounts and services to Renaissance Block Challenge participants: B & L Wholesale Supply, Brigiotta’s Greenhouse & Garden Center, Chautauqua Brick, Craig’s Landscaping, Everydays True Value, Kingsview Paving and Excavating, LaBella Associates, LaMar Seamless Gutters, Mike’s Nursery and Tactical Tree Services.

“While the Renaissance Block Challenge financially assists homeowners with curb appeal improvements to their properties, the real benefit is an increase in pride of ownership within each of these neighborhoods”, says Mary Maxwell, JRC’s Neighborhood Project Associate. “And on top of that, and more importantly, there is an increase in communication among the neighbors.” Block parties, neighborhood sales and group participation in volunteer activities become annual events.

A few neighborhoods have participated in the program more than once. Neighborhoods that want to participate again must have at least 60 percent of the homeowners be first-time participants to be approved.

The neighborhoods with the best chance of being approved for the program are those that can demonstrate a commitment to cultivating strong communication between neighbors and a shared sense of identity so that momentum gained in 2018 can be carried forward and result in a sustainable impact on the community.

“When you buy a home, you buy a neighborhood,” says Claire Tomassini. “Our priorities are to maintain this neighborhood for ourselves, our families and our children, who are the future of this city.”

Learn more about the Renaissance Block Cluster pre-application process by attending an informational workshop on Tuesday, October 10, or Thursday, October 12, 2017, at 6 p.m. at the at the JRC offices, 301 East 2nd Street, Suite 301. Reservations are requested. Call Mary Maxwell at 489-3493 or email mary@jamestownrenaissance.org for questions regarding the Renaissance Block Challenge or to reserve your space for a workshop.

The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation is a nonprofit organization that supports downtown and neighborhood revitalization in Jamestown by promoting reinvestment, stakeholder engagement and innovation.