Good News from Auburn, NY!
Blueprint II Presents Community Improvement Projects
While some people may want to see an improved Auburn and Cayuga County but sit idly by, a band of teenagers have visions for the future and have actively sought out ways to leave a lasting impression on the place they call home.
December 8th was a graduation of sorts for the nearly 50 seventh, eighth and ninth grade students who participate in Blueprint II, an outgrowth of A Call to Action: A Blueprint for Our Region’s Future, who spent 10 months developing project proposals to enhance their communities for both the present and the future.
In the Irene A. Bisgrove Community Theatre at Cayuga Community College, these students presented their projects to the Stardust Foundation of Central New York, various other foundations, parents and community members at the first annual Student Leaders Presentations and Reception in the hopes of obtaining monetary grants to make their visions reality.
“What we’re trying to do is get their ideas out there so the kids can then start to further develop those ideas,” Blueprint II Lead Facilitator Jeff Alberici said.
Over the course of the evening, 47 students from East and West middle schools, Tyburn Academy of Mary Immaculate and St. Joseph School presented their proposals that originated from six broad areas of interest that were identified several months ago: recreation, entertainment, Emerson Park, downtown, water quality and green technology.
In the coming months, Stardust Foundation will consider funding one or many of these proposals. Groups are expected to learn if they receive grants in February.
For Domine’Que Williams, 15, of Auburn, a necessary improvement to Auburn must be to improve the water quality at Owasco Lake by planting trees and plants along a stream to act as a buffer to sift out runoff and phosphorus. She and her six fellow group mates are seeking $30,000 from Stardust to accomplish this within the next year.
“There are 60,000 people that drink water from the lake everyday,” she said, “and it will bring more money to Emerson Park because more people will use it if we have cleaner water.”
Stardust Foundation Executive Director Guy Cosentino said he is confident that some, though not all, proposals will receive funding – Stardust can only fund project that carry a 501C3 tax-exempt status – and asked representatives from other foundations to attend the event and consider providing some funding as well.
“I’ve been very impressed with what they’ve done,” he said. “They’ve had great presentations and I’m sure they’ve even improved.” Blueprint II has been so successful; Stardust has renewed the program for another year.
“Our whole objective is to make sure they have a stake in our community,” Cosentino said, “and that is what we are doing.”
Blueprint II Projects
Owasco Watershed Protection: The group is seeking $30,000 to install plants or trees along a stream leading into Owasco Lake to act as a buffer against runoff and phosphorus that would endanger its water quality. Students involved: Christian Bozek, Rachel Farinelli, Ashley Kukella, Shadman Mirza, Jenna Page, Alec Tavener, Domine’Que Williams
Auburn Teen Center: The group is seeking $11,500 to fund the creation of a teen center inside the Auburn Public Theater that would give teens in grades 8th through 12th a safe place to have fun. Students involved: Amber Jordan, Joe Marinelli, Nicholas Radell, Brigid Sabine, Jeffrey Streeter
Reducing Plastic Shopping Bags: The group would like $7,600 to distribute reusable shopping bags and educate the public about the dangers plastic bags pose on the environment. Students involved: Katie Ambrose, Danielle Butera, Eileen Castle, Auryana DeChick, Brenna Haynes, Joey Liccion, Alexandra Mack, Edward Vivenzio
Restoring Schine’s Theater: The group is asking for $300,000 to conduct asbestos abatement at Schine’s Theater to help the Cayuga County Arts Council move along restoration and eventually open the space to community members, tourists and businesses. Students involved: Nick Buell, Devin Guinnip, Hannah Lesch, Paul Noga, Kasandra Robinson, Alexandra Rosekrans, Aaron Sigona
Enhancing Existing Facilities: The group is seeking $12,500 to refurbish the boat launch and island shelters at Emerson Park to provide community members and tourists a nicer place to meet and relax. Students involved: Dustin Culver, Anna Cuthbert, Emily Latanyshyn, Tom Lupo, Zachery Weaver, Alex Wilczek
Laser Tag Facility: The group is asking for $300,000 to be paid in installments to create a laser tag facility in the basement of Auburn Public Theater, which would be used to give teenagers another safe and fun activity. Students involved: Rachel Barron, Noah Christiantelli, Kevin Franceschelli, Tom Herbert, Sean Lattimore, Sydney Lattimore, Maggie Lewis, Maureen Manning, Molly Sabine, Allie Signorelli, Kevin Talbot, Matt Trupiano, Joe Wood