University of Oregon

Resource Assistance for Rural Environments

Group hires assistant for 5 projects

 ONTARIO — The nonprofit organization Revitalize Ontario’s new resource assistant has begun work at the start of this week.

In an effort to offload the amount of work required on five separate projects, the organization, which strives to improve the facade of businesses and other buildings within the downtown core, felt the need to hire someone for the position, said Charlotte Fugate, co-chairwoman of the organization. That person is Kayla Kirksey.


In order to pay for the position, Revitalize Ontario applied for and received about $10,000 from the Ford Family Foundation with about $14,000 of assistance coming from the City of Ontario.

The funding will pay for Kirksey to work for the organization for 11 months, in which time she will be working on five separate projects throughout her tenure.


The first will be on revising city ordinances drafted in 2009, Kirksey said. The second project will be in developing a database of property owners and retail stores and the third project will have Kirksey working to organize meet-ups and mixers of community members in order to get the word out on upcoming projects, Fugate said.


Developing a funding strategy for installing a large welcome sign into Ontario is the fourth project Kirksey will work on, while her fifth project will be on finding ways to expand the organization’s board and committee members.


Kirksey was selected through the AmeriCorps Resource Assistance for Rural Environments program, administered through the University of Oregon’s Community Service Center, according to its website. The program is designed to provide assistance provided by AmeriCorps members in rural areas.


“I’m really excited, because I just graduated and I have the chance to get some valuable experience,” Kirksey said.


In addition, she said, the posting in Ontario speaks to her because of the chance to see the interaction between private businesses and public entities within the city of Ontario.


Also, the nonprofit may get the opportunity for additional funding. The Oregon Street Revitalization Grant Program – which Revitalize Ontario receives funding from – received $5 million from a lottery bond package bill during the 2017 legislative session.


Unfortunately, that money won’t be available until spring of 2019. Fugate said, Revitalize Ontario hasn’t had the chance to discuss what future projects to pursue as of yet.


In the past, the nonprofit has helped The Competition, in downtown, with finding funding for renovations to revert it back to a retro, 1960s appearance. Also, six other businesses in the downtown area have applied for and received facade grants from the City of Ontario in collaboration with Revitalize Ontario.

Originally Published in The Argus Observer
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