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Sullivan Renaissance Awards

Sullivan Renaissance Awards

Awards Ceremony Held at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

[BETHEL] – Hundreds of people attended the Sullivan Renaissance Awards Ceremony on Monday, August 10, as almost $150,000 in grants and scholarships were awarded to winning communities throughout Sullivan County. All of the communities that finished projects received completion grants based on their size. The ceremony returned to the Event Gallery at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for the second year in a row.

Sullivan Renaissance Steering Committee Chair Sandra Gerry called on local leaders and public officials to step up and help deal with the blight that remains after 15 years of volunteer efforts.  “It will take public policy and resources from all our leadership to do some of the heavy lifting and change the way Sullivan County is seen.  It cannot only be a grassroots effort,” she stated, offering to partner with businesses and organizations that take up the challenge.

Sandra Gerry said that beautification was important on several levels, particularly because it is an economic development issue.  She said that leadership “starts from the top down” and pointed to the outstanding improvements made by Dr. Gerard J. Galarneau at Catskill Regional Medical Center, which was recognized “for its outstanding efforts in beautifying the hospital grounds and gardens.”

The Rock Hill Business and Community Association received the Golden Feather, a $25,000 grant presented by NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, for its Public Art Project.  It was given to one of five large community projects that exhibited the highest level of excellence by incorporating beautification as part of a long-term strategy. The Narrowsburg Beautification Group received the second place Silver Feather Award of $10,000. The Phillipsport Community Center got the $5000 award for the community’s planning efforts.

The winner of the $10,000 Community Mitzvah Award went to American Theological in Kiamesha for beautifying its facility.  Second place award of $5000 went to Khal Divre Chaim Bungalow Colony in Kauneonga Lake; while third place of $3000 was awarded to Camp Bais Yaakov in Ferndale. Camp Bais Yaakov was also given a special Judge’s “Wow” Award of $1000 for its beautiful flowers.  This contest included ten camps and bungalow colonies in Sullivan County.

The winning prize of $1000 in the first Sullivan Renaissance Video Contest went to the New Hope Community for its video “Growing Community” which was then shown. Judges also recognized two videos with honorable mention prizes: $250 to Forestburgh Playhouse for its video “Flower Power” which invited people to discover the beauty of Sullivan County, and a $100 to the Smallwood Mongaup Valley Fire Department for its video “Rebirthing Sullivan County” which used custom music.


The Forestburgh Playhouse won the “Best Overall Showing of Flowers Award” of $5000.  Judges were impressed by the overall number of gardens, planters and displays; an abundance of color, texture, unique combinations and liberal use of Sullivan Renaissance 2015 collection; innovative designs, including vertical plantings, and the scale of gardens that were appropriate for the size of the buildings and wall spaces; the appropriate mix of perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees to create a year round appeal; good use of native and non-invasive plants; and a project that makes one say wow.

Other communities receiving $1000 Judges’ Choice Awards for flowers included: Phillipsport Community Center for the “Best Use of the Sullivan Renaissance Collection;” Mamakating Library for the “Best New Garden in an Urban Setting;” St. Patrick’s Church in Long Eddy for “Best New Garden in a Rural Setting;” and the Village of Woodridge for “Best Community Municipal Collaboration.”

The special Best Showing of Flowers Award – Maintenance” of $5000 was given to Neversink Renaissance – for “wowing the judges” with its multiple gardens.  The $3000 award for the “Best Single Garden” went to St. Peter’s Regional School in Liberty.

The judges also awarded three special awards.  Winner of a Judge’s Choice Award of $2000 for the “Most Improved Street Beautification” was Hurleyville-Sullivan First.  A Judges’ Choice Award of $1000 for the “Best Container in a Single Location” went to Temple Sholom in Monticello.  And the last Judges Choice Award of $1000 for “Garden Bed Maintenance” was Lumberland Parks and Recreation.


Category A projects are made up of single elements such as a new sign or hanging baskets.  This category was made possible, in part, through the sponsorship of WVOS/WSUL.

First place ($3000)

Literacy Volunteers in Monticello – Building Landscaping

Second place ($2000)

Mileses Cemetery – Cemetery Sign and Landscaping

Third place ($1000)

       Hudson River Healthcare in Monticello – Duane Stoner Memorial Garden

SPECIAL JUDGES’ CHOICE AWARDS – Sponsored by Sullivan County Democrat

Community Collaboration ($1000)

     Sleepy Hollow Development in Monticello – Sign Garden

Youth Participation ($1000)

Sullivan County Headstart in Monticello – Butterfly Teaching Garden

Historic Preservation ($1000)

Lake Huntington Fire Department – Historical Garden

Use of Flowers ($1000)

Sunshine Hall Free Library in Eldred – Façade Improvements


Category B projects are made up of multiple elements such as park enhancements.  This category was made possible, in part, through the sponsorship of Thunder 102/Bold Gold Media.

First place ($10,000) :

St. Patrick’s Mission Church in Long Eddy – Historical Garden

Second place ($7000) :

Mamakating Library in Wurtsboro – Library Landscaping

Third place ($5000) :

Eldred Central School – Gardens for Learning Project

SPECIAL JUDGES’ CHOICE AWARDS – Sponsored by The River Reporter

Historic Preservation ($1000)

St. Patrick’s Mission Church in Long Eddy – Historical Garden

Streetscaping ($1000 each)

Community Action Commission in Liberty – Façade Improvements

Youth Engagement ($1000 each)

Mamakating Library in Wurtsboro – Library Landscaping

Environmental Stewardship ($1000)
Eldred Central School – Gardens for Learning Project


Category C projects are at multiple locations that incorporate beautification as part of a long-term community wide strategy.  Awards in the category were presented by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther.

Golden Feather ($25,000 grant):

Rock Hill Business and Community Association – Public Art Project

Silver Feather ($10,000) :

Narrowsburg Beautification Group – Narrowsburg Trail Project

Planning Award ($5000):

Phillipsport Community Center – Phillipsport Area Beautification

SPECIAL JUDGES’ CHOICE AWARDS – Sponsored by Kristt Company

Placemaking ($1500)

Jeffersonville JEMS – Events Stage and Welcome Center

Historic Preservation ($1500)

Village of Woodridge – Parks & Aesthetic Enhancements

Environmental Stewardship ($1000)

Phillipsport Community Center – Phillipsport Area Beautification

The Rock Hill project will be on display during a “Golden Feather Celebration” on Saturday, August 22.  Contact Sullivan Renaissance for more details.


Sullivan Renaissance beautification projects were judged for aesthetic improvement, collaboration, youth involvement, permanence and an ability to be maintained.  The team of eleven judges from outside Sullivan County included: Birgitta Brophy, Donna Harrison, Mary Lewis, Michael Newhard, Peter Patel, Nancy Proyect, Odette Sabourin-Dumais, Ann Smith, R.J. Smith, Deborah Sweeton and Michael Sweeton.

The Community Mitzvah Awards were judged by Mary Lewis, Rabbi Marcus Rubenstein and Country Yossi Toiv.  The data collector was Judy Green.

The Sullivan Renaissance Video Contest was judged by Eniko Hunyadi, Daniel Mack and Ben Younger.


Ari Mir-Pontier, Liaison to the Spanish Speaking Community, described the Church Street Beautification Project in the Village of Liberty, a pilot program to unify residents and landlords and serve as an inspiration and example to other neighborhoods.  The project was undertaken as an outgrowth of the Bilingual Advisory Committee.  Members were introduced: Tom and Amy Caruso, Dr. Jorge Delgado, Saraid Gonzalez, Rick Martinez, Steve Melendez, Robert Mir, Nicole Slevin, Liliam Stettner, Cristian Serapio, Nicole Tapia and executive director Glenn Pontier.


The Maintenance Support Program provided financial support and technical assistance to established groups with a history of Sullivan Renaissance projects.  Participants received up to $1500, a Merchant Discount Card, Flower Dollars, Bulb Dollars, assistance in organizing volunteer help, additional funding for infrastructure improvements, and other technical and gardening help.

The thirty participants were: in Bloomingburg, Town of Mamakating Park; in Callicoon, Callicoon Business Association and St, James Episcopal Church; in Glen Spey, Lumberland Parks & Recreation; in Hurleyville, Hurley-Sullivan First and Sullivan County Historical Society; Kenoza Lake United Methodist Church; in Liberty, CCE Master Gardeners and St. Peter’s Regional School; in Livingston Manor, Livingston Manor Renaissance, Livingston Manor Rotary and United Methodist Church; Long Eddy Renaissance; Luxton Lake Property Owners Association; in Monticello, Federation for the Homeless, Landfield Avenue Synagogue, United Methodist Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Temple Sholom and Town of Thompson Park; Mountaindale Action Committee; Neversink Renaissance; Rock Hill Fire Department; in Roscoe, Presbyterian Church and Roscoe-Rockland Chamber of Commerce; Swan Lake Renaissance; White Sulphur Springs Sullivan First; Woodbourne Action Committee; and Wurtsboro Renaissance.

Before introducing the communities in the Maintenance Support Program, horticultural coordinator Diana Weiner called attention to the members of the design panel that reviewed gardens during the application process.  Panelists included: Marietta Beanland, Peg Berg, Cindy B. Coker, Susan Dollard, Kate Honders, Andrew Koehn, Jarna Maniguet, Irene Stover and Robin Wagner.

The local garden centers and nurseries were also recognized: Catskill Harvest Market in Liberty, Delaware Valley Farm Home & Garden in Callicoon, Everlasting Spring Garden Center in Liberty, Hillside Greenhouse in Liberty, Jeannie’s Bed of Petals in Callicoon, Laurel Grove Greenhouse in Port Jervis, Liberty Home Garden & Pet, L & M Greenhouses in Bethel, Manza Family Farm in Montgomery, Monticello Farm Home & Garden, Monticello Greenhouses, Inc. and Vita’s Farm & Garden in Jeffersonville.


The Sullivan County Community College Foundation awarded one full time scholarship to a volunteer involved in a Sullivan Renaissance project who is attending SUNY Sullivan.

  • Christopher Slater of Kenoza Lake volunteered at Kenoza Lake Methodist Church


The Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan Counties awarded six Sullivan Renaissance scholarships to volunteers who made a significant contribution to a Sullivan Renaissance project.  These scholarships are for the spring semester at the college of one’s choice.

  • Nathaniel Bender – Neversink – Alfred University
  • Samantha Cohn – Woodridge – SUNY Potsdam
  • Mark Garigliano – Neversink – University of Notre Dame
  • Dayna Herling – Circle Park/Glen Spey – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Victoria Merton – Sullivan Renaissance Volunteer Corps – University of Albany
  • Shivani Patel – Swan Lake Renaissance – Rochester Institute of Technology


The 2015 interns are: Hannah Bisland, Gisselle Caballero, Ember Cemelli, Shoshana Conlon, Ajani-Vernon Desmangles, Sandro David Fernandez, Collin Frost, Mark Garigliano, Ceili Horton, Jane Hyman, Victoria Kerendian, Jiron Kevii, Madison McCormack, Jeremy Nevin-Gales, Ivonne Serapio, Adam Wilcox and Hans Zanger.


Volunteer coordinator Cara Kowalski introduced the Sullivan Renaissance Volunteer Corps.

First Year Members: Joe Aracci, Anne Boyd, Roberta Chambers, Cindy Coker, Karen Ellsweig, Saraid Gonzalez, Dennis Hewston, William Kavleski, David Klussman, Alex Melendez, Victoria Merton, Ari Mir-Pontier, Lesbia Niforis, Rosemary Paty, Joseph Rubeo, Anne-Louise Scandariato, Cristian Serapio, Marisol Serapio, Christy TerBush, Cheryl Towne and Janice Vooght.

Second Year Members: Debra Cortese, Tamara D’Antoni, Melissa DeMarmels, Raymond Evans, Karen Kerendian, Regina LaCatena, Beth Mastro, Steve Melendez and Brenda Sherman.

Third Year Members: Melinda Cormier, Michelle Guidera, Mary Mancuso, Daniel McCormack, Diane Moss, Margaret Rubin and Eric Schramm.

The ceremony began with the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner”by Franklin Trapp, producer of Forestburgh Playhouse. Project recipients received framed certificates of excellence from Sullivan Renaissance, as well as individual certificates from U.S. Representative Chris Gibson, NYS Senator John Bonacic, NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, NYS Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney and the Sullivan County Legislature.

As groups accepted their certificates, photographs of each project were displayed in a power point presentation created by Colleen Emery.  The event was planned by Saraid Gonzalez, who also created the program with help from Christy TerBush.  The entire event was simultaneously translated into Spanish with headsets available.

A video of the ceremony will soon be available online with the link posted on the Sullivan Renaissance YouTube page and the Sullivan Renaissance website.

Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.  For information about Sullivan Renaissance, contact 845-295-2445 or www.sullivanrenaissance.org