The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation (JRC) has announced details for the 2017 Renaissance Block Challenge, a program that offers matching funds to home owners up to $2,000 to put towards exterior home improvements. The program encourages and rewards neighborhood groups to work together in an effort to reinvest in their own communities.
Pre-applications for neighborhoods interested in participating in the 2017 program will be available on the JRC website beginning October 3, 2016 here: Renaissance Block Challenge
“Last year, we moved the pre-application starting date from January to October. That change gives the program participants a chance to secure sign-ups in the fall instead of January when the weather is very cold,” said Mary Maxwell, neighborhood project associate for the JRC. “In previous years, we had to wait to award the grants because we did not have the funds until May. With the grant from the John A. and Oscar Johnson Memorial Trust, we moved the application deadlines to an earlier date,” said Maxwell. In 2015, John Sellstrom, Johnson Foundation co-trustee, and Carole Sellstrom, Johnson Foundation executive director, made a donation of $500,000 toward the Renaissance Block Challenge program.
City residents who would like to participate in the program need to form a neighborhood cluster with a minimum of five (5) property owners in their vicinity. The group can include homeowners, landlords, or businesses. Once a cluster has formed, the pre-application process begins. 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.
“The new deadlines not only gives property owners a better time of the year to contact their neighbors and get started on the process, it also give those awarded the 2017 grant more time to finish their projects,” said Maxwell. Not every home improvement project qualifies for the program. Many of those that do include: painting, porch repair, soffit repair, sidewalk repair, mailboxes, exterior lighting, front-yard landscaping, front doors/windows, driveways, driveway aprons, and gutters.
Since 2011, 30 clusters have participated in the program, with almost 350 property owners investing more than $900,000 in exterior home improvements and repairs. Several property owners have participated in the program more than once. Property owners who wish to organize and participate again must at least 60 percent of their cluster as first time applicants. 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 2017 can be carried forward and result in a sustainable impact on the community.
IMPORTANT DATES REGARDING 2017 RBC:
- Monday, October 3 – Pre-application will be available
- Tuesday, October 11 – Pre-application informational workshop, 6:00 pm
- Thursday, October 13 – Pre-application informational workshop, 6:00 pm
- Friday, December 9 – Pre-applications are due
- Friday, January 6, 2017 – Invitations to submit final applications will be distributed
- Wednesday, March 8, 2017 – Final applications are due
- Thursday, March 30, 2017 – RBC grant awardees announced
Learn more about the RBC pre-application process by attending an informational workshop on Tuesday, October 11, or Thursday, October 13, at 6:00 pm at the Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center, 119-121 W. Third Street. Reservations are requested. Pre-applications for the 2017 program can be found here: Renaissance Block Challenge