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Vibrant Batavia outlines activities planned for summer

BATAVIA – Three months after a contentious effort to secure funding from the city, the Vibrant Batavia Community Network is back on track with projects and events designed to improve neighborhoods and promote downtown business.

Vibrant Batavia Coordinator Leanna L. DiRisio, speaking at Monday night’s City Council meeting, ran through a list of activities scheduled for this summer and updated officials about its Community Improvement Grant program.

“We said we are going to focus on neighborhoods, celebrations and telling positive stories about our community. We also said that we would commit to raising money for our programming and for the city’s Austin Park slide, and we are,” DiRisio said.

In March, Vibrant Batavia received a two-year, $70,000 commitment from the Council – using surplus funds from video lottery-related state aid – following much debate among board members and input from city residents.

The Council formed Vibrant Batavia in 2012, jump-starting it with an $80,000 contribution for two years. The organization is managed by NeighborWorks Rochester.

Council President Brooks M. Hawley said the board expects to see Vibrant Batavia become “self-sufficient” by 2017. “We want to see an actual plan to make sure they will be able to fund these projects themselves,” he said. “We don’t want them to go away. It’s a great idea to be part of neighborhood revitalization and communication.”

DiRisio said her group is working with the Pathstone, NeighborWorks Rochester and city police to form a landlord focus group on Summit Street, and is teaming up with the Batavia Neighborhood Watch Group to place bicycle racks throughout the city.

She said that a National Night Out gathering is scheduled for Aug. 4 and that a community garage sale is slated for Aug. 8, also noting that the Vibrant Batavia Centennial Committee will have a presence at the Fourth of July Picnic in the Park at Centennial Park.

“We continue to raise funds,” she said. “Vibrant Times was just published again and funded through advertising, and we are working with the Kiwanis Club to raise money for a new slide at Austin Park.” The slide was damaged by vandals last year.

Vibrant Batavia is offering up to $400 in grants for civic engagement, beautification and collaboration projects. DiRisio said two projects have been completed – flower planting by Paula Miller on the Route 98 roundabout and by Lisa Barrett at Pringle Park.

For information on the grants, mail requests to Vibrant Batavia, c/o City of Batavia, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia, NY 14020, or email leanna@VibrantBatavia.com.