Niagara Gazette

June 10, 2013

ReNU Niagara opening Park Place hub

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — ReNU Niagara, a community-based program operated by Niagara University, is holding a dedication and open house at its new location in the historic Park Place neighborhood at 11 a.m. today.

During the event, it was also be announced that Niagara University's Institute for Civic Engagement will be renamed the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., Institute for Civic Engagement to honor the long-tenured president and his commitment to the community.

ReNU Niagara's move downtown is intended to further the university's presence in the Falls and to strengthen and enhance the growing number of initiatives aimed at revitalizing the downtown core and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Specifically, the university will be working closely with Niagara Falls officials to implement the LiveNF program, an initiative of the city's Community Development Office intended to attract and retain recent college graduates, which is considered essential to an emerging knowledge-based economy.

"From day one, the goal of LiveNF was to spark interest in Niagara Falls as a place to work, live and invest,"Seth Piccirillo, director of Niagara Falls Community Development, said back in February. "The success of this program is dependent upon strong partnerships, and Niagara University committing staff and resources to the historic Park Place district is an exciting next step. The city is fortunate to work so closely with Niagara University, and we welcome its staff to Park Place."

ReNU Niagara will be located in the same building as Congressman Brian Higgins.

Through its work with faculty, staff and collaborative partners, ReNU has completed projects addressing urgent community needs and challenges, including the GreenRoots Leadership Development Program and the Creating A Healthier Niagara Falls program, which is funded by the John R. Oishei Foundation. Additional ReNU initiatives include the establishment of community vegetable gardens, tax preparation assistance, resident and organizational training and GIS asset mapping.