OSWEGO – The Oswego County Legislature’s Economic Development and Planning Committee recently presented a certificate to Linda Eagan in recognition of her work with the Fulton Block Builders program.
Eagan is Compliance Program Administrator and HIPAA Privacy Officer for the Oswego County Health Department.
Dedicated to helping communities thrive, she helped found the Fulton Block Builders program earlier this year and serves as its administrative director.
The neighborhood revitalization program helps property owners make improvements with grant support from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation.
Through donations and matching funds, approximately $250,000 was invested in 127 properties on 22 distinct blocks in neighborhoods throughout the city of Fulton.
The Oswego Renaissance Association follows the Healthy Neighborhood Initiative and the FBB is modeled after ORA, she explained.
“In April of (20)16 I started to talk with people in our neighborhood and community about starting an ‘Oswego Renaissance’ in Fulton,” she said. “Just briefly, our first year has been amazing.”
The group examines the community to see which neighborhoods have healthy properties and which have unhealthy properties, she explained.
In 2017, there has been a quarter of a million dollars invested in Fulton’s participating properties, Eagan said, pointing out, that means for every dollar invested by FBB, properties owners have invested three times that amount.
Research has shown that people, not just in Fulton or Oswego but across the country, have become disengaged from their communities, she said.
“What this program does is give people the opportunity to come together, and we have little grants out there, and improve their own properties. And that’s the catalyst that brings people together” she said. “What we really want to see is that re-engagement back in the community. We want to see the city in better shape.”
They have done fundraising in Fulton – and that includes private individuals sticking their hand in their pocket saying ‘I care enough about the city to donate’ – as well as businesses, she said.
The Shineman Foundation pledged a 2-1 grant up to $100,000 if Egan could raise $50,000 by May 1, they will donate $100,000, she said.
“We raised that so fast it just made my head spin,” she said. “The caring and the love for our committee is gigantic. That’s really been so impressive.”
They went out and invited anyone in the city to apply for grants to make improvements on their homes.
FBB intervened in 22 distinct blocks and 127 properties in 2017, she said.
They were blocks where it is possible to re-imagine and grow the community’s capacity to return to high standards, exhibit pride and to become civically re-enagged, Eagan said.
“We’ve made a difference. People have told us, ‘I can feel the difference. I can se the change.’ It has been really impressive,” she said.
The impact includes:
- 22 blocks were awarded Block Challenge Grants
- 126 completed projects at the deadline of Oct. 31, 2017
- Homeowners invested three times the FBB reimbursement
- Six landlords improved nine properties
- 15 block parties have occurred to celebrate the block’s successes
- Fulton is being noticed by other municipalities and asked to share FBB information
- Zero increase in tax assessments due to FBB improvements
Shineman will offer the same deal for 2018, Egan noted.
The program will open again in 2018 with an informational meeting at 6 p.m. on January 17 at the River Vista Conference Center on South First Street.
For details, call 315-529-9181 or visit www.fultonblockbuilders.com.