JAMESTOWN – What started as a church repainting project on Palmer Street in Jamestown has blossomed into a model for neighborhood revitalization thanks to church leaders, surrounding property owners, and Jamestown’s Renaissance Block Challenge.
St. Elia’s Albanian Orthodox Church, a small congregation at the corner of Palmer and Sprague on the city’s South Side, had been planning to repaint their Carpenter Gothic-style church when they learned about the Renaissance Block Challenge—a program of the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation (JRC) that offers matching funds to groups of neighbors who work simultaneously on exterior improvement projects.
Church officials were able to put together a group of neighborhood property owners who were committed to making exterior improvements this year, and JRC then chipped in to help offset some of the cost. Now in its second year, the Renaissance Block Challenge provides up to $1,000 to match the work of property owners on everything from painting and porch repair, to landscaping, walkways, and new front doors.
A total of seven Renaissance Blocks were selected for participation this year after an application process, including the group led by St. Elia’s. The others are on Lakeview Avenue, Chestnut Street, the Forest Heights neighborhood, the Royal/Woodworth and Harding/Todd areas of the Westside, and at the corner of Newton and Bowen.