Newsday, August 21st, 2016 | The master developer for Huntington Station’s revitalization has been working to rebuild the infrastructure of the hamlet, and also regenerate its sense of community.
To that end, Plainview-based Renaissance Downtowns has created the StationSix grant program in which seven grants totaling $2,000 are awarded each month for projects ranging from beautification efforts to school supply giveaways.
Ryan Porter, vice president of planning and development for Renaissance Downtowns, said the idea is to create excitement and highlight collaboration between the developer and the community.
“When you’re in these communities for four plus years working on the behind-the-scenes things that need to get done to build buildings . . . people want to see some activity,” Ryan said.
Six $250 grants and one $500 grant are awarded to individuals or organizations monthly. To receive one of the grants, the ideas have to fall into one of six categories: public safety; nature, environment and beautification; food and dining; local business development; cross-generational engagement; and arts, entertainment and creative culture.
Winning ideas are selected by a community vote and reflect what residents want to see represented in the programs that are implemented.
After a grant project idea is approved, it is posted on the Source the Station website to gain support to be implemented. A $250 grant idea needs 15 likes and a $500 grant idea needs 25 likes to get the funding.
Registered members can use the community organization’s website to propose and vote on suggestions to revitalize the hamlet.
The grant program is open to anyone interested in creating an event or program in Huntington Station that builds community and creates a sense of place, said Elisabeth Muehlemann, a community liaison for Source the Station.
“If we have all the infrastructure but there are no people invested in the community, it defeats the purpose of having a development,” said Muehlemann, who administers the program with Andrea Bonilla, also a liaison. “We’re trying to get people involved before everything breaks ground and build a strong sense of place and create the events people want to see in the community.”
Winning projects since the program was launched in April include an outdoor event with backpack and school supply giveaways for children and a beautification effort using paint that only shows up in the rain to create inspirational sidewalk art.
Mike Plunkett, 28, a lifelong Huntington Station resident, recently won a $250 award. The money will serve as a prize for the winner of a pool tournament set for Aug. 28. His grant was awarded in the cross-generational category that works to bridge the gap between generations.
“I got involved with Source the Station because it’s a good way to help the community,” said Plunkett, the owner of a photo and video production company. “It’s a way of getting involved, giving back and showcasing the community.”