Fulton Block Builder Positively Impact the “Sealright Community”

“All of these houses were built by Sealright for their employees around 1945. They were known as the Sealright Homes.” said Jeanette Davis, one of the most recent homeowners to be presented with a Fulton Block Builder Matching Grant check. Jeanette and George Davis moved into their home 42 years ago, where they raised their three children, nurtured five grandchildren and delighted in 5 great-grandchildren. “This has always been a nice neighborhood and I’m honored to be chosen to be part of Fulton Block Builders. It’s amazing, we wanted to fix our driveway but we weren’t sure we could do it, this program has been a big help and everyone is great!” said Jeanette.

The Sealright community is known for helping one and other, in fact people living here say it’s the “best” area of the city to live in because people are so nice. For years, it never changed said Jeanette but lately it has. People are in more of a rush, we still help each other but this program is bringing us back together - like it used to be.  Thanks to the FBB matching grant the Davis’s were able to patch and resurface their black top driveway, bringing a fresh new look to the house. They are neighbors to the Kasperek’s who also have received a check from FBB, making a nice impact in this area of the Sealright homes! Once all 23 houses have completed their exterior renovations there will be a transformation that will be noticeable to all!

Fulton Block Builder Recipients Help One Another In Many Ways

At the heart of the Healthy Neighborhood initiative (HNI) which is what Fulton Block Builders (FBB) is founded on~ is a shared sense of community.  Community is about engagement, sharing excitement and being good neighbors. All around the city you can find neighbors helping each other just as these three have done on the West Side.

Fulton NY

Many neighborhoods in transition lack a sense of community among their residents. The HNI approach provides the foundation for building neighborly relationships. Through Fulton Block Builders cultivate an environment that is conducive to managing neighborhood change. FBB builds a sense of community by focusing on civic engagement and empowering residents to work together on their properties and neighborhoods. FBB breaks from the traditional advocacy approach to community organizing and focuses on resident engagement. FBB’s primary goal is not to organize residents to be vocal about their neighborhoods and the problems that need to be addressed, but to encourage residents to become engaged in their community and neighborhood and to take a proactive role in creating positive change. The three gentlemen seen here in this photo are living proof that this concept is taking hold around the city of Fulton.

The Work is Starting and Fulton Block Builders are Happily Writing Checks to Residents

Audrey and Chuck Avery just finished repairing their side porch and replacing the rotted floor. “Chuck and I have to say that the experience with the Fulton Block Builders was awesome.  We were so pleased with Heather, Alyssa, Penny and Linda. We were glad we could obtain the funding for our side porch, which was in desperate need of replacement. All our neighbors who are participating feel the same way about this wonderful organization. We thank FBB so much and look forward to working with them in the future. “said Audrey.

Ed Kasperek is another homeowner that recently completed his renovations. A recap of his improvements includes; resealed the driveway, stained the whole house, put up new gutters where needed, new shutters, new flowers-hanging plants and perennials, new pots, new screens on 2 front bedroom windows, caulking around garage door-found big open gaps between siding and molding saving on rotting door frames.    “I really enjoyed working with Linda and Dennis of FBB to get my home back in shape. I also would like to say thanks to FBB for helping my neighbors with their projects. I have talked to some neighbors that missed out this year and will apply next year.” remarked Ed.

The FBB Block Challenge is well under way for 2017, with 22 different neighborhoods committed to make exterior improvements and revitalize their properties.  Each awarded property owner in a Challenge Block will receive a dollar-for-dollar match on exterior improvements (approved in the application), up to $1,000. If $500 is spent, a $250 match will be made. If $2,000 or more is spent the match will be $1,000. (minus taxes).

The First Fulton Block Builders Award Check Is Presented

The First Fulton Block Builders Award Check Is Presented

Albert and Ellen Zaranka are the first of 161 homeowners in the city of Fulton to receive their Fulton Block Builder – Block Challenge check. The couple have completed over $2,300.00 worth of exterior enhancements to their property, but only requested a $500.00 - match even though he could have requested the maximum $1,000.00. “I wanted to be a part of our block application and show support of my neighbors but also wanted to see the Block Builder money go as far as it could “said Mr. Zaranka. “We’re proud homeowners and like to take care of our property. I hope this program will inspire others to do so. Fulton has a long history of strong and friendly residents, I think FBB reminds us that we each have a part in where our city goes from here.”

Mike Peterson and Kelly Niccoli are the volunteer FBB Ambassadors for Zaranka’s area of the city. Mike said, ‘The seeds for reclaiming Fulton have been planted and now we are beginning to bloom.”

While talking with Albert and Ellen, FBB learned that they are new and very interesting residents of our community. They purchased their English County Cottage home eighteen months ago because of its fascinating architecture, the beautiful upstate summers and because Ellen grew up in the area. The couple moved here from Durham, North Carolina after long and varied careers in the arts and business. Ellen was a Personnel Director with offices in New York City and Hong Kong while Al was a concert pianist teaching and preforming on many stages including Broadway. “I think this program (FBB) brings people closer together. It’s good to be out front planting and getting to know each other.” said Al. “Sharing a ladder or a piece of equipment is a good way to get to know people.” said Ellen. We can already see positive changes.

The Fulton Block Builder project is dedicated to revitalizing our neighborhoods one block at a time. It is based on the Healthy Neighborhood Initiative and follows the positive lessons learned by the Oswego Renaissance Association. The core feature of this approach is to build on strengths rather than just fix weaknesses. Bringing homeowners together in one block builds community and generates confidence that their investment will financially pay off. 

Fulton Block Challenge Grant Recipients Announced, Projects to Move Forward This Summer

By Tim Lyman news@fultonvalleynews.com

Fulton Block Builders reached a pivotal moment in its first year of operations this week: deciding which blocks will receive funding for the first-ever Fulton Block Challenge.

The block challenge is a grassroots program that incentivizes Fulton property owners to perform curb-appeal exterior renovations on their homes. FBB will match approximately half of the amount that these residents invest into such projects, with a maximum reimbursement of $1,000.

Of the 178 homes that originally applied for funding in the preliminary and final applications, 161 homes, or 22 blocks, are slated to receive funds from the organization.

Fulton Block Builders (FBB) Administrative Director Linda Eagan said that, as a result of the Block Challenge, neighbors who hadn’t spoken for years have come together and gotten to know each other better, spreading the sense of community Eagan said she’s always wanted to see.

“The neighborliness is perfect,” said Eagan, adding this was her favorite part of seeing everything come together. “It’s more than I could have hoped for.”  

The awardees were publicly announced at an invitation-only kickoff dinner Thursday evening at the River Vista Center to launchFBB’s first renovation process. All work must be completed before Oct. 31.

The blocks that received funding have been separated into zones, with multiple blocks in each zone, and leaders in charge of managing each block.

The leaders whose blocks have been selected for funding are, in zone one: Stephen Cappelletti, Jennifer Scaringi and Dennis Merlino — who acts as the block leader for two separate blocks; zone two: Sandi McIntyre and Penny Halstead; and zone three: Audrey Avery, Sharlie Drake-Garcia, Deanna Michaels, Dennise Clark, Cheryl Baldwin, Dan Ritchie and Michelle Trepasso.

Zone four’s chosen block leaders are Sarah Sunday, Marty Gillard, Marion Ciciarelli and Delinda LaRock; zone five: Kathy Fitzpatrick, Heather Crofoot and Jean Ballard and Sharon Buske (the latter duo shares a role as block leader); and zone six: Michelle Narad and Pat Marino.  

Block awards range from $2,477.50 to $12,200, according to Eagan.

A staple of this program is a group of six target areas, not to be confused with the above zones, set in each of the city’s six wards. Although living in one of these target areas makes one’s application more competitive, it doesn’t guarantee funding, nor do residents need to live in a target area in order to apply.

Of the six target areas, blocks in the first five of them received funding, and two blocks near the sixth target area received money, as well.

At the kickoff dinner, awardees received a letter noting how much they received and which hardware stores, garden centers and other businesses to go to for discounts. So far, some local businesses FBB has arrangements with include Northern ACE Home Center, Ontario Orchards, and Burke’s Home Center.

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised every step of the way with this whole process,” said Eagan, who said she had initially expected everything to take more time.

She said she sent a message to block leaders, congratulating them and wishing them well.

“They are true leaders in the community,” said Eagan. “We look forward to the trends they will set.”

She said Fulton Block Builders is as much about making Fulton beautiful again as it is about creating a sense of community and pride.

“Never underestimate Fulton,” said Eagan, when asked what this experience has taught her. “They’ll surprise you at every turn.”

I Love My Neighborhood!

How are you doing with getting to know the people in your neighborhood? I’ve been working hard at talking with my neighbors and getting to know them more the past couple weeks.

This week, while my family was on vacation, I watched as my 10-year old daughter hopped in the pool at our hotel and in less than 10 minutes she had made a new friend. By the end of the day they had exchanged mailing addresses and promised to write each other. Deep down, I think we all want to be like my daughter…smiling at people we don’t know and making new friends wherever we go. She makes it look so easy!

My neighbor calls himself a loner and keeps to himself mostly. I’m an introvert, but once you get to know me, I’m a very good listener and can get someone to talk about themselves in a very short time. For my neighbor who thinks of himself as a loner, that was a nice hour-long conversation we had on your porch the other day. ☺ I learned more about him and the history of my neighborhood in that hour than I have in the 10 years I’ve lived here.

My soon to be 95 year old neighbor loves to sit on her porch in the warm weather and watch my two girls playing outside. We often join her on the porch, sipping lemonade together, nibbling on homemade cookies, and catching up on our families. Sometimes we take our lawn chairs outside on the grass and sit under the big red maple tree in her yard, and as other neighbors stroll by, occasionally they stop to chat with us.

Smile and wave to those people in your neighborhood! If you listen quietly, you will hear it…the buzz of neighbors talking and getting to know each other.

Fulton Block Builders Visits Fulton Lion's Club

FULTON, NY – Linda Eagan, administrative director, Fulton Block Builders, made a presentation at at the Fulton Lions club’s April meeting. Eagan outlined the grassroots neighborhood revitalization program, which has exceeded its first year fundraising goals and received more than 200 pre-applications for participation. Approved neighborhood groups receive reimbursement of up to $1,000 for renovations to their homes.


Joining her is Fulton Lions President Dave Guyer. The Fulton Lions Club, also known for their Lions Loot Sweepstakes, (April 30), Lions Mane Event Comedy Night, and annual Duck Derby, provides financial assistance for those in need of eyeglasses, eye exams, and hearing aids to residents in the Greater Fulton area. For more information, visit www.fultonlionsclub.com, or find them on Facebook under Fulton, NY Lions.

Fulton Block Builders Complete Fundraising Match for $100,000 Grant

FULTON, NY – “We did it, Fulton!”

“Local businesses have taken the Fulton Block Builders over their fundraising goal! Kenwell Corporation, Mimi’s Diner, Eastern Shore Associates, Patterson Warehousing, and Bellinger Auto Sales & Service have all donated to the Fulton Block Builders, collectively putting FBB over our goal,” said Linda Eagan, FBB Administrative Director.

Realizing the goal meant matching a $100,000 commitment from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation to jump start the grassroots organization in its first year.

“It’s just wonderful,” said Fulton Mayor, Ronald Woodward Sr. “Fulton Block Builders is one of so many amazing volunteer groups in our city that are working to raise the quality of life for the people of Fulton. Kudos to Linda Eagan for her efforts, it’s very appreciated.”

The Fulton Block Builders, led by Linda Eagan, is a volunteer group that has worked tirelessly to spread the message of neighborhood revitalization, pride and togetherness.

Based on the Healthy Neighbors Initiative, the program will allow groups of property owners in neighborhoods throughout the city of Fulton to invest in exterior home improvements with the opportunity to recover a portion of their expense.

Participating residents can spend up to $1,000 to receive a dollar-for-dollar match for such improvements as painting, porch repair, mailboxes, exterior lighting, landscaping, sidewalk repair, and much more.

Although the fundraising goal is complete, donations are still encouraged and accepted as more money raised means more residents are able to participate.

To qualify, 50% of neighbors on one block consisting of homeowners and tenants alike with the property owners consent, must agree to submit a pre-application.

Target areas, predetermined neighborhoods within the city that are believed to see great benefit with some exterior improvements, will be given special consideration although any neighborhood within the city is encouraged to apply. Target areas have been announced and can be found on the FBB website.

Due to a very successful fundraising campaign and adverse weather in the month of March that may have made it difficult to consult with neighbors, the deadline to submit pre-applications has been extended until Friday, April 14.

Once pre-applications are submitted, FBB volunteer members will visit each applicant’s block to better establish a proposal moving forward to submit a final application.

Final applications are due May 1 and the chosen applications will be awarded by May 15.

Participants then have until October 31 to complete their intended improvement projects.

To help during the process, FBB has paired with local hardware stores and garden centers to offer discounts to participants.

Additional bonuses are available for houses on corner lots as well as participants that utilize a historic based paint palette designed by architectural historian and Fulton native, Susan Arena.

To further promote community togetherness, part of the application process includes planning an event, such as a block party, with the participating neighbors to celebrate the completed work.

Mayor Woodward noted that all of the city’s aldermen have been working hard in each of the six wards to ensure all residents are aware of the opportunity and many have spoken with interested homeowners.

“I think it’s one of the best programs the city of Fulton has had in a long time,” first ward alderman, Tom Kenyon said during a recent council meeting. “I don’t know how anybody on the blocks can pass that up. It’s going to make the city look real nice,” he said.

The word is spreading and as a result, so is the excitement.

“I always believed that the Healthy Neighborhood Initiative was going to work in Fulton, but the community has surpassed my expectations in so many ways. I am inspired each and every day by phone calls, e-mails and donations from people excited to see the Fulton Block Builder program get started. Support has come from the city limits and beyond. It seems the greater Fulton community was ready for a program like this to get started and have success. There is a lot of energy in Fulton and people are ready and willing to share it. If you listen very quietly, you will hear it…the buzz of excited people,” Linda Eagan said.