City grants to enhance community aesthetics
A city-sponsored program that’s brought a mural, a park, identifying signs and historic markers to Fort Wayne neighborhoods has opened for its second round of grants.
The 2019-20 Neighborhood Improvement Grants program is set to award $50,000 for upgrades that enhance community pride and a neighborhood’s aesthetics and provide community benefits accessible to all, according to a city news release.
The deadline for submitting a letter of intent is June 28. Applications must be received by Aug. 30. Information, guidelines and the application form is available at www.FortWayneNeighborhoods.org.
Registered neighborhood associations and the four neighborhood-area partnerships are eligible to apply. Those who submit a letter of intent will be invited to a workshop to refine their applications.
The grants are up to $5,000 each, so more than 10 neighborhoods could qualify, depending on the size of the requests, said Mary Tyndall, spokeswoman for the city’s Community Development Division, the awards’ sponsor.
A change this year is that neighborhood income qualifications are not in place, she said.
Last year, federal dollars were used, so awards had to go to neighborhoods where a majority of residents were required to be at or below 80% of the area’s median income.
“This year, (the awards) are available across the city,” she said.
Examples of projects eligible to apply for an award are a community garden, improvements to a community center, benches, playgrounds, parks, public art, signage and recreational equipment such as a basketball hoop. Maintenance, social events and operating expenses are not eligible.
Neighborhoods that won last year are eligible to apply again, Tyndall said. Recipients can use the money to leverage other grants, she added.
One of the most visible projects awarded a grant last year was a mural on a building at the southeast corner of Wells and West Fourth streets. The work was recently completed by local artist Jerrod Tobias.
The mural shows a coyote, foxes, a river, a sunset and a field of flowers that evoke the name of the neighborhood : Bloomingdale.
“Vibrant and welcoming neighborhoods are a key to the success of our community,” Mayor Tom Henry said in a statement. “This grant program will inspire local leaders to strengthen their neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for all residents.”
Awards likely will be announced in September.