On Wednesday, the Niagara Falls Community Development Department, Niagara Falls City School District and New York State Health Foundation announced the 2018 “Summer In Your City” event series. The four-month schedule of events is focused on fun, fitness and inclusionary activities in Niagara Falls city parks. The series creates public-private partnerships to offer dynamic events and spaces to Niagara Falls families without reliance on local taxpayer dollars alone.
“Children and families benefit from creative and inclusionary free play,” said Seth Piccirillo, Director of Niagara Falls Community Development. “Summer In Your City is the result of stakeholders coming together and providing value to the community in new, cost-effective ways.”
Summer In Your City is funded by the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) via a $120,000 grant received in March 2018. NYSHealth is a private, statewide foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. It is committed to making grants, informing health care policy and practice, spreading effective programs that work to improve the health system, serving as a convener of health leaders across the State, and providing technical assistance to its grantees and partners. “We are proud to support the Niagara Falls Community Development in making physical activity and play accessible for Niagara Falls residents,” said David Sandman, Ph.D., President and CEO of NYSHealth.
The event series, running from July to October 2018, will feature:
·30+ free outdoor fitness sessions at city parks, led by professional trainers, yoga instructors and martial arts experts.
·4 free outdoor movie nights at neighborhood parks.
·Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) workshops at Hyde and Liberty Parks led by a certified educator and physical education curriculum designed specifically for Niagara Falls Parks.
·Special events including Slow Roll Buffalo Bike Stampede, a birthday for Nikola Tesla in partnership with National Grid, an art show at the Castellani Art Museum featuring work created by local children, a 5k Color Run and much more.
·Mobility training sessions at the soon to be completed Hyde Park Inclusionary Project, led by EMPOWER.
Residents are welcomed to visit www.YourCityNF.com to learn more about the entire event schedule and to follow Niagara Falls Community Development social media pages to stay up to date.
Education and childhood development are key factors to each of the Summer In Your City events. “A goal of education is to have students take what they’ve learned and apply it outside the school walls. With the partnerships and activities developed, we have created opportunities to extend instruction and lessons beyond our classrooms. Playgrounds and parks will be used as educational satellites to allow students to learn while engaging in play and enjoining summer in our city. Furthermore, the programming that is planned goes beyond the typical school subjects and exposes our students, along with their families, to opportunities in citizenship and being a part of the positive changes in the community. We are incredibly thankful for the NYS Health Foundation, John R. Oishei Foundation, the City of Niagara Falls, and our other partners for committing to the continuous development of our students, their families, and our city,” said Mark Laurrie, Superintendent of the Niagara Falls City School District.
Summer 2018 will also feature the improvement of nine city parks, including the Hyde Park Inclusionary Play Project, Liberty Park Playground, 91ST Street Playground, Jayne Park Playground, Garden Avenue Pocket Park and the NF Dog Park. Funding for these projects has come from the NYSHealth, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the John R. Oishei Foundation and New York State Senator Rob Ortt. These improvements add to the 30 city-wide park improvements made by the City of Niagara Falls since 2011.
The Niagara Falls Community Development Department’s 2017 Participatory Budgeting Process (PB360) directly led to park improvements being made at Hyde, Liberty and Gill Creek Parks this year. Niagara Falls is only the second American city to use participatory budgeting (PB) to make Community Development Block Grant funding decisions. In 2018, the department is using PB to help make neighborhood based place-making investments. Voting sessions will be held at select Summer In Your City events, linking citizen participation with real time results. The community can learn more about PB 2018 at: https://nf-cd.org/news/pb2018.