Oswego Renaissance Association Receives Large Shineman Grant

The Oswego Renaissance Association (ORA) announced a $150,000 grant award from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation to continue the momentum of the neighborhood revitalization work that began in Oswego last year. The grant, in combination with a $25,000 donation from Pathfinder Bank for 2015, will support ORA's programs this coming summer, including the Renaissance Block Challenge Grants, Neighborhood Pride Grants for parks and streets, and the grants for painting homes in historic colors.

The Renaissance Block Challenge Grants is ORA's largest program, providing grants to groups of homeowners in targeted city of Oswego neighborhoods. The grants provide matching funds to residents for exterior home improvements. According to Paul Stewart, executive director of ORA, last year 96 homes in 13 city blocks were awarded over $81,000 in matching grants, which in turn invested over $315,000 in improvements throughout the neighborhoods.  

"Last year was a banner year for Oswego's neighborhoods," said Stewart. "We are so pleased that the Shineman Foundation is continuing to support a strategic and market-based revitalization of these neighborhoods. The Shineman Foundation Board of Directors initially commissioned a market-based revitalization plan for Oswego that was completed in 2013. Since that time they have been ORA's greatest supporter in executing the plan,” indicated Stewart. "Their confidence in this process speaks volumes about their vision for Oswego and the important role they play in the community."

“When the Shineman Foundation was approached in 2013 to fund the study that analyzed Oswego’s neighborhoods, we were very intrigued,” said Karen Goetz, executive director of the Richard S. Shineman Foundation. “We were even more intrigued and excited by the plan that came out of the study, which was 180 degrees different from the traditional approaches to revitalization that clearly were not working. The foundation supported the first year (2014) of the rollout of the plan in the hopes that the end result would actually work to begin to revitalize Oswego’s neighborhoods.” 

“The foundation’s mission is to use its resources to invest in projects or programs that will act as a true catalyst for change in our community”, said Goetz.  “ORA has proven to be one of those projects. The results of the first year of ORA exceeded our expectations, which is wonderful!  We are, therefore, thrilled to continue our support of ORA in 2015.”

"It’s definitely working," said Stewart. "Not only are we seeing significant improvements in homes throughout Oswego, but there has been a lot of additional spillover activity as a result. In the same neighborhoods where neighbors have been involved in our programs, we are now seeing residents and developers forming partnerships. Older rundown rental properties are being converted to higher end rentals for professionals. Some beautiful old properties have been restored and sold to families at healthy prices. In one instance, a large group of neighbors were so inspired that they combined resources, bought a rundown property, and are working with a developer to have it restored to a beautiful single family home. It’s amazingly contagious."

About Oswego Renaissance Association (ORA):

 The mission of the Oswego Renaissance Association (ORA) is to promote the development, restoration,  and preservation of healthy, vibrant neighborhoods and communities in Oswego, NY. ORA provides resources, technical assistance, education and services to revitalize homes, downtown businesses, promote historic preservation and build positive communities. For additional information contact oswegorenaissance@gmail.com or visit www.oswegonyonline.com