Projects

LiveNF

  • What is it?

    This is the new Niagara Falls, and you can help define it. LiveNF is a comprehensive program to help you build a life here. The incentives can assist you in purchasing, renting, or renovating a home in a Niagara Falls neighborhood, as well as starting or improving a local business.

    LiveNF is an innovative program that makes it as easy as possible to become or remain a part of this community. You can invest your time and energy anywhere in the world, but we want to help you create a neighborhood, create a business, create a livelihood right here in Niagara Falls. So, check out the website and learn more about the approach. Most importantly, let us know what you think. We value new ideas here.

    Learn more about the Downtown Housing Incentive and how to apply to become an urban pioneer here.

GreenRoots Leadership Development Program

  • What is it?

    • Originally funded through support from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
    • GLDP aims to create new youth and adult resident leaders in Niagara Falls
    • The program will address the leadership gap that exists in the city
    • The program's goal is to disprove common misconceptions that regular citizens are not engaged in their community
    • Participants create the change they wish to see, on a grassroots level, while preparing to pursue other advanced programs and certifications in leadership

     

  • Program Elements

    GLDP provides knowledge and skills that will allow participants to transform their neighborhood and city into a place they can be proud to call home.

    The program is designed to be as flexible as possible, in order to meet the needs of each specific group of participants.  Past participants have enjoyed workshops in the following subject areas:

    • Community Leadership
    • Resource Development
    • Environmental Justice
    • Cultural Competency
    • Advocacy
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Creative Problem Solving
    • Storytelling

    Participants are also asked to design and implement a neighborhood improvement project as part of the program. Past project include:

    • Rehabilitation of a park/playground and creation of an outdoor education center in the Highland Community
    • Paint the Rain rain barrel art project
    • Creation of a "found item" sculpture with Buffalo artist Scott Bye
  • Interested?

    GLDP is an extremely versatile program that can be offered in a variety of formats.  Anything from one-day workshops, weekend retreats, or longer 8-12 week programs are possible.

    If you are interested in learning more or would like to apply for the program, please contact Tom Lowe at tlowe@niagara.edu or (716) 205-0289.

Highland Community Greening

  • Highland Community Vegetable Garden

    In 2009, ReNU Niagara partnered with the Highland Community Revitalization Committee, Inc. and the Henry J. Kalfas Magnet School along with several other community organizations, churches and block clubs to install the Highland Community Vegetable Garden (HCVG).

    The garden consists of 25 raised garden beds filled with different vegetable crops each year.  In past years, we have grown peppers, cucumbers, collards, cabbage, tomatoes, herbs and much more!  
    Each year a Plant Day is planned for sometime in June, and community residents are invited to come out to help get the garden started.  With the help of local youth groups, the garden is watered and maintained throughout the summer.  Once ready for harvest, these local youth also assist with the set-up and operation of a veggie market, providing the community’s youth with the opportunity to gain entrepreneurial skills.
    The purpose of the garden is not only providing the Highland community with a healthy alternative but to provide them with the knowledge of growing, maintaining, harvesting and preparing vegetables, as well.
    The proceeds from the market will help with the sustainability of the garden year after year.
  • What is it?

    In 2009, ReNU began work with the Highland Community on the Highland Greenfields
    initiative, funded through the East Hill Foundation.  This project consisted of the development of a community vegetable garden, a low maintenance green space, and an entryway to the Highland community or neighborhood.
    Census Tract 202, the Highland community, is one of the most distressed areas in Niagara County. The
    2010 American Community Survey indicates that the poverty level in the City of Niagara Falls is
    21.8%, while in Census Tract 202, the poverty level is 44.3% with 78.4% of children aged 5 and
    under living below the poverty level; Median household income in Census Tract 202 ($17,383)
    significantly lower than the median income for the city ($31,452). On virtually every economic
    and social measure, the Highland community is disproportionately impacted, including the
    unemployment rate, educational attainment, vacant housing, brownfields and other measures.
    ReNU continues to actively support the projects of the Highland Greenfields initiative by
    providing staff support and volunteer service days to assist with maintenance and clean-ups.

     

Vacant Lot Initiative

  • What is it?

    2004 - Highland Community resident, Mrs. Gore, starts work on a city-owned lot on Highland Ave. between Centre and Garden

    Spring 2008 - ReNU Niagara worked with the Boys & Girls Club, HCRC Inc., and Neighborhood Housing Services to repurpose bocce courts for the “Keeping it Green” community garden project at Presti Apartments
    Spring 2009 - ReNU Niagara, in partnership with HCRC, Inc. and the Kalfas Elementary School, started the Highland Greenfields project that included:
    • Development of the Highland Community Vegetable Garden
    • (25 – 16’x3’x3’ raised beds at Kalfas)
    • Redevelopment of Highland Community Pocket Park (1031 Garden Ave.)

    Fall 2009 - Coalition of community organizations convened to brainstorm program ideas related to Community Gardening 

    Spring 2011 - The NACC, a member of the informal Vacant Lot Coalition, receives funding to establish Walnut Avenue Gardens
    Summer 2011 - ReNU Niagara begins to formalize the Vacant Lot Coalition as well as the process by which city-owned vacant spaces can be acquired for reuse projects
    Fall 2011 - ReNU Niagara listed in Community Development Annual Plan for 2012
    • $20,000 to “assist in the reclamation and redevelopment of vacant, City owned Lots”
    Winter 2011 - Vacant Lot Coalition reconvened (16 attendees representative of 10 different entities) 
    • Priority areas: Formalization of Coalition, lease, and application process
  • Greenprint Niagara

    Mission

    The mission of Greenprint Niagara is to address the abundance of vacant lots in the City of Niagara Falls, using a variety of creative reuse strategies, including community gardens and natural green spaces, thereby increasing the overall civic engagement of residents, combating community deterioration, and lessening neighborhood tensions in the City of Niagara Falls, NY. 

    History

    Greenprint Niagara was created by a coalition of community organizations and individuals in the City of Niagara Falls, NY.  The initiatives’ role is to implement and facilitate creative reuse strategies for the vacant lots in the City. 

    Collaborative discussions began in 2009 and in the Spring of 2012 the coalition of community organizations was officially titled and incorporated as Greenprint Niagara, Inc.  Greenprint Niagara also formulated bylaws in the Summer of 2012.  Comprised of the original and expanding vacant lot coalition members, Greenprint Niagara’s incorporators have developed an application for community members to complete and if qualified, these members will be able to use their selected city-owned vacant lot.  Greenprint Niagara, Inc. has also signed a lease with the City of Niagara Falls, NY to be able to provide this service for community members.  Through an insurance policy covering general liability on the lots, all members and organizations are covered for their activities. 

NU Campus Garden

  • What is it?

    Thanks to Grow WNY and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo’s Green Bowl grant, Niagara University’s raised-bed vegetable gardens were contructed and first planted during the summer of 2011.

    The goal of the campus gardens, which are handicapped-accessible, is to encourage university students and employees to become more aware of the environment around them and understand the principles of self-sustainability. There is also anticipation that once the university community becomes passionate about the projects, they will be enthusiastic about expanding their work into the Niagara Falls area via efforts coordinated by ReNU Niagara. 

  • Get Involved!

    As with any garden, the campus garden needs to be regularly maintained, including:

    • Watering
    • Weeding
    • Cultivating
    • Harvesting

    If you are a student, faculty or staff member, or a member of the local community and you are interested in helping with garden maintenance, please contact ReNU Niagara Program Coordinator, Tom Lowe, at tlowe@niagara.edu.

Creating a Healthier Niagara Falls

  • Who?

    Creating a Healthier Niagara Falls is a collaborative effort between the City of Niagara Falls, the P2 Collaborative of Western New York, Niagara University (via ReNU Niagara) and over 30 community implementation partners.

  • What?

    Niagara University, in partnership with the Mayor's Task Group to Create a Healthier Niagara Falls and the P2 Collaborative of WNY, was awarded $300,000 from the John R. Oishei Foundation to implement the Creating a Healthier Niagara Falls project.

    The concept for this project grew from the Mayor/City Council approved National Urban Fellow.

  • Where?

    The target area for the Creating a Healthier Niagara Falls project is broken into three phases:

    Phase 1: Bounded by Main Street, Portage Road and Pine Avenue

    Phase 2: Bounded by Main Street, Portage Road, Pine Avenue, and Ferry Avenue

    Phase 3: Bounded by Main Street, Portage Road, Ferry Avenue and Niagara Street

  • When?

    • Creating a Healthier Niagara Falls is an 18-month pilot project that started on July 1, 2011 and will run through Decemeber 31, 2012.
    • A Clearing House will commence from the Niagara Falls Housing Authority's Spallino Tower.
  • Why?

    The goals of the project include:

    • To improve the quality of life and individual health of neighbors.
    • To effectively align and leverage existing resources.
    • To create healthier, more livable and safe neighborhoods.