Seven Groups Chosen as 2014’s Neighborhood Renaissance Blocks

by | May 19, 2014 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

RBC Map_2014 Update


Landscaping, porch repairs, painting, sidewalk replacement and many other projects will soon be underway in Jamestown’s neighborhoods as part of the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation’s fourth annual Renaissance Block Challenge.

Seven clusters of neighbors are participating in the program this year, with properties located on Dearborn St., Durant Ave., Ellis Ave., Lakeview Ave., Newton Ave., W. 18th St., and in the Forest Heights neighborhood. The seven groups, which include 97 property owners and a mixture of owner-occupants and landlords, applied to the program earlier this year and were selected from among 12 competing groups.

The Renaissance Block Challenge gives participating property owners access to matching grants of up to $1,000 to complete a wide range of exterior improvements and represents a key part of neighborhood revitalization efforts coordinated by the JRC. Since the program’s inception in 2011, it has assisted nearly 150 property owners in 15 clusters with almost $400,000 in exterior renovations.

According to Mary Maxwell, the JRC’s Neighborhood Project Associate, the purpose of the program is two-fold. “We want to support exterior improvements to clusters of homes in order to boost curb appeal and build stronger blocks. But we also want to see people working together to improve their neighborhoods and address problems proactively,” she said. Competing clusters were required to have at least five participating property owners to maximize the program’s impact.

In their applications, participants outlined exterior improvements they wish to complete this summer and skills they can bring to projects in their cluster. Each cluster was also asked to describe how they would use the program to strengthen communications between neighbors and celebrate progress in their neighborhoods.

Funding for the Renaissance Block Challenge’s matching grants is being provided in 2014 by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, the Darrah Fund, the Lenna Foundation, the Chautauqua County Housing Assistance Fund, and Northwest Savings Bank.

Program participants also have access to discounts on home improvement and landscaping materials provided by Brigiotta’s, Chautauqua Brick, Mike’s Nursery, and Everydays True Value. Design advisement services are being donated by Sandberg Kessler Architecture & Engineering.

Dearborn Street, located on the south side of town, is tucked between Newland and Hazeltine Avenues on a beautiful brick street. This cluster has a great deal of pride in their properties and considerable residential longevity. Recently designated as one of Jamestown’s newest Neighborhood Watch Areas, Dearborn is working with the city to address some of their neighborhood concerns.

Durant Avenue is continuing the momentum started by last year by a Renaissance Block on nearby Hotchkiss Street. A one-block street located on the north side of town, Durant is a busy pathway to Jamestown Community College (JCC) used by both students and JCC employees. Fireworks from the Jamestown Jammers’ games light up the night sky on summer evenings.

Ellis Avenue is located on the west side of town just across the Third Street Bridge and within easy walking distance to Lincoln Elementary School. With an annual block party and a neighborhood garage sale already in place, residents have plenty of opportunities to meet neighbors and get to know each other better. Doug Nordwall says, “It is almost impossible to walk down the street without having the opportunity to stop and chat.”

The group on Newton Avenue, located on the north side of town, has created a logo and chosen “Re-Vitalize, Re-Juvenate, Re-New” as their slogan. Their mission is to “re-new all of Newton Avenue from Lakeview to Buffalo Street.” They plan to participate in Hands-On Jamestown, create a Neighborhood Watch group, and plant flower rings around their terrace trees.

West 18th Street is the first successful cluster on one of the city’s numbered streets and has the potential to create momentum in this northern part of the city. This cluster sent in several personal testimonies from residents of the street, including a resident who has lived there for 57 years. This cluster plans to continue their tradition of having a summer block party. There is also interest in starting a community garden.

Forest Heights is a well-established neighborhood group that participated in the 2012 Renaissance Block Challenge. Located on the south side of town, this neighborhood is defined by their Neighborhood Watch group boundaries. The Jamestown Chapter DAR House, Heritage Village Rehab and Skilled Nursing, and the Fenton History Center are all participants in this cluster. Monthly meetings are held and the 3rd annual block party is being planned for August to celebrate improvements in the neighborhood. There is a strong sense of community involvement with many members participating in and providing volunteers for National Night Out, Hands on Jamestown, the Great Jamestown Sauce-off, the Chalk Walk, Jamestown NOW and the Lucy Fest 5 K Walk/Run. This cluster also organizes a monthly litter and trash pickup of Fenton Park and vacant property lots within their neighborhood.

The Lakeview cluster has been spearheaded by the Lakeview Avenue Community Action Project (LACAP), a group that has met monthly since 2011. This group is active in many community activities including Hands On Jamestown, Neighborhood Watch, and was involved with the initial formation the Jamestown Neighborhood Alliance (JNA). They have a web site and have begun an annual garage sale.

Throughout the summer, progress in the seven clusters will be highlighted on the JRC’s Facebook page and Web site (, where instructions for the 2015 Renaissance Block Challenge will be posted next January.

Recent Posts

2022 Downtown Building and Business Grant Pre-Application Now Open

Are you looking to adapt or improve your business?Is the downtown building you own not living up to all of its potential?The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation's Building and Business Improvement Program(BBIP) may have the resources you need. The program is a 50/50...

2021 BBIP Grant for Downtown Buildings and Businesses Now Open

The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation is excited to announce the opening of its 2021 Building and Business Improvement Program. Downtown building and business owners have until April 5th, 2021, to apply to receive matching support towards investments related to...

Historic Tax Credit Workshop

The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, in collaboration with Preservation Buffalo Niagara, is hosting a Historic Tax Credit Workshop on February 17th at 6 pm. Jamestown is home to three historic districts: Downtown, Forest Heights, and Lakeview. Properties in these...

Your Ideas for Downtown!

The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation is looking for the community's input on where to focus resources next year and years to come, specifically ideas that relate to improving our community within the context of the downtown urban core. We are looking for great ideas...

New Grant Program for Downtown Businesses

Our Retail Expansion Grant is now available to downtown businesses. This grant offers matching grant dollars to support the purchase of gift cards, branded merchandise, and expenses related to offering a new product or service. Learn a little bit more about the grant...

Doors Open Jamestown Recap

Jamestown Renaissance Corporation (JRC) is proud to report on another successful Doors Open Jamestown, with 17 participating attractions, and total attendance over 1,000. JRC and Jamestown Up Close would like to thank the attractions for their participation and support, as well as everyone that came out to see the attractions, and support downtown businesses on a snowy winter day.

Jamestown Up Close Shop Small, Win Big Winners Announced

Jamestown Up Close and Jamestown Renaissance Corporation (JRC) are excited to announce the winners and results of this year’s Shop Small, Win Big contest. In an effort to boost local commerce during the 2019 holiday season, Jamestown Up Close encouraged shoppers to shop downtown from Small Business Saturday through December 18th.

Christmas Parade and Holiday Celebration Fireworks Brought to You by Chautauqua Region Community Foundation

Jamestown Renaissance Corporation (JRC) is proud to continue their partnership with the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF), to once again bring fireworks to the annual Christmas Parade and Holiday Celebration. The parade will be held this Friday, December 6th, with live music at 5pm by “For the People”. The parade kickoff, tree lighting, and National Anthem start at 6:30pm, and the parade ends with a Santa-led fireworks celebration at the conclusion of the parade.