The Niagara Beautification Commission has honored Niagara University's "Rock the Block" neighborhood cleanup effort as its project of the year in Niagara Falls.
For the past two years, the university-led South End Housing Initiative, which includes 30 partner organizations, has deployed scores of volunteers into rundown residential areas of Niagara Falls to work on home repairs, painting, fencing and landscaping.
This year, 224 volunteers worked on 24 homes, 15 alleys, and numerous medians, stretching over 34 city blocks from Niagara Street to Pine Avenue, with an economic impact of $73,050, according to the university.
"When we started with this a little over two years ago, our ultimate goal was to get new and interested homeowners in to populate the South End," said Patti Wrobel, executive director of the university’s Rev. Joseph L. Levesque Institute for Civic Engagement, which oversees the initiative. "Employers were saying they were having a hard time attracting employees to come into the city because of housing."