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HomeReleased to Phoenix Media:Community Foundation welcomes new staff, announces new projects

Community Foundation welcomes new staff, announces new projects

In a significant step for its multi-partner Cornhill initiative, the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties recently welcomed the first two staff dedicated to neighborhood revitalization. Jessica Amber Hernandez and De’Quan Watson, working as community project strategists, will guide and help develop and implement the strategy that connects two planned new centers with nonprofit organizations and residents.

“We’re thrilled that Jessica and De’Quan have joined the team that’s working to realize the most significant investments in Cornhill in decades,” said Community Foundation President/CEO Alicia Dicks. “Their experience and knowledge will add greatly to the collaborative partnership we’re building with the people and organizations working to enhance and bring new life to this incredible residential neighborhood.”

Hernandez comes to the project from Rising Phoenix Holdings Corporation, where she served as a corporate contract recruiter, inventory specialist and logistics operations specialist. Watson previously served as the community resource specialist at Integrated Community Alternatives Network (ICAN).  

The Cornhill project is an effort the foundation has undertaken with Mid-Utica Neighborhood Preservation Corporation, Collective Impact Network, People First and the City of Utica. It will create 100 new apartments and 30,000 square feet of commercial and community space at two newly constructed “impact centers” on West and James streets.

In addition to addressing the city’s affordable housing needs, the centers will provide their residents and the neighborhoods with access to nonprofit partner programs and services, community meeting and recreational spaces, a business incubator, a dedicated arts and media studio, gym and wellness facility, an urban grocery store, and much more. Dedicated staff and an online navigational platform will connect people in the neighborhood with the programs and services they need, and the organizations that provide them. 


More information about neighborhood revitalization is available at

Utica Phoenix Staff
Utica Phoenix Staff
The Utica Phoenix is a publication of For The Good, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) in Utica, NY. The Phoenix is an independent newsmagazine covering local news, state news, community events, and more. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and also check out Utica Phoenix Radio at 95.5 FM/1550 AM, complete with Urban hits, morning talk shows, live DJs, and more.

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