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Oswego Renaissance Association taking next step toward revitalization

The city of Oswego is trying to regain what years of population decline and lost manufacturing jobs have taken away. According to Mayor Thomas Gillen, part of that reclamation means revitalizing the city's neighborhoods.

Gillen said the Oswego Renaissance Association is speaking with local banks to secure funding for small loans, grants or matching funds to assist homeowners in making needed repairs.

The money would also be tied to neighborhood development, encouraging neighborhoods to take on projects together.

"The condition would be that you'd have to get several other neighbors in your street area to participate in some sort of home improvement. It could be as little as putting in some landscaping," said Gillen.

In September, the Oswego Renaissance Association met with consultant Charles Buki, who assigned grades to the city's neighborhoods and houses using number and color scales. He told the group that lower-rated homes have a much bigger impact on good neighborhoods, than good neighborhoods do on buildings that could use repairs.

Although some areas of the city are in need of more help than others, Gillen said no neighborhood is in bad enough shape for the city to give up on it. The mayor also said he believes rebuilding neighborhoods will have a more positive impact than simply issuing fines and expecting improvements to get done.

"We're going to have tactical plans of what neighborhoods we're going to go after, what type of improvements we're looking for. I think everyone is going to see an improvement overall," Gillen said. "It's kind of like a triage in a hospital emergency room. There's some that we need to take care of immediately, before it gets worse. There are others that we can move towards at a later time."

The mayor said although some parts of the city are in need of more work than others, no neighborhoods have been ruled out for improvement.