A new collaborative neighborhood clean-up program that started in Jamestown could expand to Dunkirk next year.
Gina Paradis, executive director of Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp., said the land bank would seek US funding for community housing development and urban development to possibly start a Hands On Neighborhoods program in Dunkirk. She said the grant application was discussed at a meeting of Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp. last month.
The new Hands On Neighborhoods program started in Jamestown this year and two clean-up events took place, which took place in the North Main Street neighborhood in Washington and Sixth to 11th in April and in the downtown business district. in May.
The new program is a collaboration of public, private and non-profit organizations that includes Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp., City of Jamestown, Jamestown Renaissance Corp. and Zion Covenant Church. Program sponsors include the Lakeshore Savings Bank, the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, and the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation.
“We want to extend the program to Dunkirk this coming year”, she said. “Basically we want the program to be county-wide. This year we are running a demonstration project in Jamestown. As we complete projects, we build a toolbox. We determine what works best and what does not. We put together a checklist, planning guides and forms. If a neighborhood group or organization wants to do a project, we can just give them the toolkit on how to do it. We can also provide them with supplies like garbage bags. We want to encourage grassroots efforts across the county. “
While cleaning up the downtown Jamestown business district, Paradis said 150 volunteers participated, including a Girl Scout troop and the Jamestown High School National Honor Society.
“There were also a lot of residents who wanted to help. It was a beautiful event. The weather was perfect, “ she said.
Paradis said the next event will take place on Saturday, June 12, with registration starting at 8 a.m. and cleaning until noon. She said the cleanup will take place on the west side of town.
Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own rakes or brooms, but tools will be loaned to those who do not have them. An information table will be organized to share program and resource information to residents on various topics related to homeownership, healthy housing and community health.
Future components of the program will include neighborhood safety workshops and possibly a mobile tool lending library. For more information about the program, visit CHQlandbank.org/handson.