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.