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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Cottage Street finding its inner beauty with ‘Block Blitz' program

By Rich Klein - reporter / photographer

By: Rich Klein | Democrat
Residents, volunteers and staff from Sullivan Renaissance came together to remove blight and to spruce up Cottage Street last week.
MONTICELLO — Beautiful is the only way to describe what happened on Cottage Street last Tuesday. On a beautiful, sunlit day, some 20 people from various backgrounds came together to beautify the street as part of a new program led by Sullivan Renaissance and the Village of Monticello.
Residents, village employees and local volunteers joined leadership staff from Sullivan Renaissance to clean up a vacant lot (removing weeds, garbage and brush) and plant flowers in front of some residences as well as at each end of the street. The lot, bought in 2001 and still owned by Cottage Street resident Charles Sabatino, will soon be turned into a bird sanctuary, according to Helen Budrock, assistant director for Planning & Community Development at Sullivan Renaissance.
Budrock said the organization has been working with the Village of Monticello in recent years on sprucing up Broadway and fixing up the commercial area.
She noted that last Fall, Village Manager David Sager and trustee Jill Weyer joined her at a conference in Baltimore about abandoned and distressed properties and how to rehabilitate neighborhoods.

"Sometimes its too much to tackle all (streets) at once so their recommendation was to pick one block at a time. We came up with the idea of a "Block "Blitz" program and asked for nominations from the community." Budrock said the funding for this project comes under Sullivan Renaissance's municipal grant program and this is only the second year that the organization is working directly with five towns and villages in Sullivan County.
Sager and Budrock agreed that High Street also has great need and could be the next candidate for rehabilitation and beautification.
Sager said: "This is what gives me the most peace of mind because it's reclaiming our community. This is Sullivan County's urban city and we are trying to do this street by street. It's going to look amazing when it's all done but then it's working with residents to keep it up. "

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