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Vibrant Batavia plans programs to boost city neighborhoods

BATAVIA – Despite a drop in public funding this year, the Vibrant Batavia committee is planning new “targeted investments” and initiatives designed to strengthen the city’s neighborhoods.

Mary Valle, committee member and owner of Valle Jewelers, said that at next Monday’s City Council meeting the group will announce an innovative strategy with NeighborWorks Rochester, the program’s managerial agency, to raise the funds necessary to successfully run the program.

“It’s a worthwhile mission,” she said. “Moving forward, we feel that the activities we provide will definitely have a positive impact upon the community.”

The City Council has allocated $25,000 toward salary, programming and related expenses for Vibrant Batavia in 2016 – a $15,000 decrease from its previous annual commitment. The governing board has indicated that it expects Vibrant Batavia to become self-sufficient by the end of next year.

In a letter addressed to the Council, the committee outlined a strategy that includes “Healthy Block” gatherings of residents on Summit Street in Ward 2 and the West Wedge Roundabout area in Ward 5.

“We intend to offer a series of curb appeal initiatives targeted at improving market value of properties … such as hiring architectural services to complete curbside sketch renderings for making easy low-cost improvements to individual homes, hosting an open house for residents to view renderings and providing matching funds on a first-come, first-serve basis for homeowners interested in implementing suggestions from their renderings,” the letter states.

“To measure the success of the program, a database of the area assembling sales prices, asking prices, days on the market and type of sale will be created to understand market trends on the street and create baseline for measurement.”

The letter indicates that the committee also will set up home improvement sessions for Healthy Block residents covering the city’s rental property management course, exemptions for homeowners, funding resources and home improvement options.

A new “street challenge” offering grants to assist residents in neighborhood beautification efforts is planned, while several current Vibrant Batavia initiatives, including “coffee talks” at public parks, the Vibrant Times quarterly publication and a citywide yard sale, will continue, Valle said.