FULTON, NY – The War Memorial filled steadily on Saturday (April 2) with vendors, home owners and prospective home buyers to enjoy the 2016 Fulton Area Home Show as put on by the city’s Community Development Agency.
The annual event took a year off last year for budgetary reasons, said Executive Director of the Fulton CDA, Joseph Fiumara, but the event returned this year with more than 40 vendors from the Fulton area to cover all aspects of home owning and home improvement.
Due to sponsorship from Burke’s Home Center of Fulton and Oswego and Fulton Savings Bank, Fiumara said they were able to break even on the event this year and at this point feel it is feasible to continue the event next year.
Among the vendors were numerous banks, contractors, landscapers, material suppliers, home repair specialists and more, including special guest Jim Sollecito, horticulture expert and owner of Sollecito Landscape Nursery who was available to answer any guest questions.
“It was great having Jim here,” said Fiumara. “Some people even drove in from neighboring counties to ask him specific gardening questions.”
Among the crowd were some members of the Fulton City Council including first and second ward alderman, Thomas Kenyon and David Ritchie, respectively.
“Things like this really help raise the quality of life in Fulton. It’s just one of the many great things happening in our city right now,” said Council President, Kenyon.
The event brought in a few hundred people and was estimated as an average turnout year, according to Fiumara.
However, with each person that entered the building, the idea behind the revitalization of the city of Fulton only grew stronger.
“As a free event, it’s a great way to get the community involved. We are able to provide them with information they are seeking for their homes, but can also provide them more information on community projects that are happening in our city now, such as the Lake project and our CDA programs,” said Fiumara.
Fiumara believes that in taking pride in resident’s homes and making them more presentable, the event helps to revitalize city neighborhoods and has a positive impact on the area’s quality of life.
As the Home Show event aims to improve revitalization of neighborhoods, Fulton officials, agencies, groups and volunteers are aiming to revitalize the city as a whole in such ways as the restoration of Lake Neatahwanta, the development of a heritage trail and revitalizing area parks and playgrounds.
“We have all the resources out there,” said Fiumara. “We just aren’t using them.”
The Lake project is one he feels very optimistic about, emphasizing that the potential to have the former beach area of the Lake reopened to the public for swimming by this summer is a very real possibility.
Although the stipulations are out of the city’s hands as they wait on clearances from state and local health departments, the push is there to complete the little remaining dredging of the area and make it accessible as a public beach as soon as possible.
“That will be huge, to have the beach back. Especially without swimming pools in the city anymore, it will be a really great place for our residents,” said Fiumara.
He also noted an upcoming Heritage Trail that is in the works, a trail that will lead around the bridges and down to the lake.
Brittney Jerred, who is leading the project, noted that it is still in it’s very early stages of conception and although there is much work to be done before the project can fully be realized, the plan is to implement a trail that emphasizes the beautification of the city by traveling around the bridges and to the lake with multiple historical kiosks, benches, pedestrian lighting and public art that highlights natural wildlife and city history and will tie in to the attributes of Friends of Fulton Parks.
Run by Kelley Weaver, Friends of Fulton Parks has aimed to revitalize the city parks and playgrounds.
“Kelley Weaver is one of the most innovative individuals I’ve ever met, it has been such a pleasure working with her on these projects,” said Fiumara.
Together, these projects, groups, agencies and individuals have banned together to make the city of Fulton a better place for all.
The Home Show aimed to tie into this revitalization while at the same time supporting local business.
“I’ve been told it’s hard for contractors to get leads at this time of the year. So far today, just in walking around and talking with people, there’s at least 7-10 contractors who have made substantial leads for the season. This is definitely helpful as an economic boost to the local economy as it spotlights local business,” said Fiumara.
Fiumara and the CDA didn’t do it alone, however.
“I’d really like to thank the staff involved in this. The CDA staff, the members of the FCRC (Fulton Community Revitalization Corporation), they’ve all donated their time to make this event happen,” said Fiumara.
One FCRC member, Bob Weston volunteered his time in the concession area to help sell hotdogs as donated by Shannon’s Hotdogs with proceeds to benefit the Lake Revitalization Project.
In all, Fiumara found the event to be successful in all aspects – helping home owners and prospective home buyers, raising public awareness of community projects, supporting local business, and essentially impacting the greater revitalization of the city of Fulton.
“We are together more now than we have been in the past 15 years, this is the closest knit community network I’ve seen in all my years at the Community Development Agency,” he said.