What's Happening?

What's Happening?

Schenectady Shows It's Up to the Challenge

Foundation Invests $250,000 in Grass-Roots Neighborhood Projects

Four months after asking Schenectady residents to come forward with their ideas for improving their neighborhoods, The Schenectady Foundation has announced that it will invest $250,000 into twelve projects through its new community development initiative – Schenectady’s Thriving Neighborhoods Challenge.

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/images/Thriving Neighborhoods.jpgThe projects range in focus and cost from $800 to spruce up the windows of abandoned buildings with canvas murals painted by children, to $55,000 to install a spray pad water feature at Woodlawn Park. Creating a sculpture park and art walk through Hamilton Hill, organizing neighborhood clean ups, establishing free book library boxes to promote literacy, and enhancing public areas with unique sculptural seating are other projects that will receive funding and support.

“A clear theme emerged in the Neighborhood Challenge”, said Robert Carreau, executive director of the Foundation. “People want to change the appearance and environment of their neighborhoods. Four of the projects are dealing with the problem of too much trash and recyclables in the streets. It’s not just beautification and picking up litter. It’s about shifting the environment of the neighborhood, creating pride and bringing citizens together to address their needs and make change.”

Other citizen-led projects focused on displays of public art and creating educational and safe play spaces for children. PTO members and faculty at Howe Elementary, for example, will receive $11,500 to create a natural outdoor play space that helps children learn and be inspired by nature. The play space will be open to the public, as well as being utilized by school faculty for lessons.

“Schenectady’s Thriving Neighborhoods Challenge is an exciting new initiative that will help make our neighborhoods stronger, healthier, safer, greener, and more sustainable,” Mayor Gary McCarthy said. “We are proud to announce the investment of these twelve neighborhood revitalization projects and look forward to continuing our partnership with The Schenectady Foundation.”

The grants were reviewed by a panel of community members – the Thriving Neighborhoods Council.  The Council’s recommendations then went to the Board of Directors of The Schenectady Foundation for final approval.

“It was a strong process” said Carreau.  “The volunteers met with each applicant, and made sure that we understood what was being proposed and what the outcomes could be.  They not only evaluated each project, but usually offered suggestions and resources to the applicants.  It was a productive back and forth among the participants.”

Most projects will get underway in the spring of 2019 and conclude by the end of summer.  Projects will be paired with a non-profit organization that can assist with purchasing materials, recruiting volunteers, and providing guidance and mentoring to project leaders.

The Neighborhood Challenge is a public-private partnership benefiting from financial support from The Schenectady Foundation, the City of Schenectady, MVP Health Care, Wright Family Foundation, Carlilian Foundation, Neil and Jane Golub, Trustco Bank and Mark & Terri Little.

Project Name Location Grant Description
Canvas Murals for Vacant Homes Hamilton Hill $800 Beautify neighborhood by recruiting students to create artwork on canvases to be hung over the windows of vacant homes.
Howe Outdoor Natural Play Space Howe Elementary School $11,500 Create a natural outdoor play space to support nature-inspired learning and recreation.
Our Community Library Various locations in City $1,400 Build and install free book library boxes around the City, filling them with donated books for neighborhood youth to read and own.
Spray Pad Cooling Area Woodlawn $55,000 Install a water feature to give residents a fun, safe way to cool off and enjoy the summer months.
Show the Love Where You Live Hamilton Hill & Vale $44,000 Decorate trash receptacles to encourage usage instead of littering; educate neighborhood to change the mindset of those who litter.
Rainbow Pride Art Gateway Park $22,000 Install a rainbow pride art sculpture made of colorful wooden frames; including educational panels about LGBTQ equal rights movement.
Cleaner and Greener Mont Pleasant Mont Pleasant $14,000 Organize clean-up efforts in Mont Pleasant, and teach youth the proper ways to recycle and to care about their neighborhood environment.
Northside Pride Northside/Goose Hill Neighborhood $24,200 Provide trash receptacles for residents in the Northside neighborhood, include educational component to change the mindset of the community.
Schenectady and Me Various locations in City $26,400 Create and display sculptural benches using tiles created by community members, to beautify the area and to increase resident contributors' pride in their work and City.
Phoenix Walks Hamilton Hill $38,500 Create an art walk through the Hamilton Hill community, to include street murals, sculpture and flower gardens, and historical neighborhood information.
Reawakening East Front Street East Front Street  $8,900 "Reawaken" a seemingly-forgotten neighborhood by adding welcome banners, trash cans, historical signage, and murals throughout its six streets.
East, Center, and West Alley Trash Containment Boulevards Neighborhood $3,300 Provide trash receptacles for residents in the East, Center, and West Alleys to help clean up  and make the streets safer.
  Total All Grants $250,000  


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