Beautification Grants Improve the Appearance of Orange County Neighborhoods
A beautification program represents an effective strategy to maintain and enhance neighborhoods. It can lead to more interaction among neighbors, an improved quality of life and a neighborhood that supports a sense of community. Fortunately, the Orange County Neighborhood Services Division is dedicated to ensuring all neighborhoods are provided with the ability to obtain a grant for improvement projects.
“The purpose of the grant program is to provide funding to support neighborhoods and organizations in improving the quality of their community,” said Seina Gilman, Program Supervisor, Orange County Neighborhood Services Division. “It’s designed to promote partnerships between residents, while working to beautify and revitalize neighborhoods.”
There are two kinds of neighborhood beautification grants – projects for mandatory neighborhood organizations that collect dues from residents and projects for non-mandatory neighborhood organizations that do not collect dues from residents.
For mandatory neighborhood organizations, the grant allows for projects with a total cost up to $15,000 and requires a 50 percent match from the organization. Examples include neighborhood entranceway signs and lighting, playground, community gardens, recreational walks and landscaping, pressure washing and painting walls, and structural wall repairs.
Other projects may be approved at the discretion of the Neighborhood Grants Advisory Board (NGAB), a seven member panel of citizens appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to oversee grants from selection of winners to the completion of projects. Go to Mandatory Grant Guidelines and Mandatory Grant Application for more information.
For non-mandatory neighborhood organizations, the grant allows for projects with a total cost up to $15,000 but does not require a match from the neighborhood organization. The grants can be used for Entryway Improvements such as entranceway signs, solar lighting, perimeter wall pressure washing painting and structural repairs. Other projects may be approved at the discretion of the NGAB. Go to Non-Mandatory Grant Guidelines and Non-Mandatory Grant Application for more information.
“We’re constantly in contact with neighborhoods and neighborhood organizations building relationships, which is critical because we want to be able to address concerns, and this gives them a voice,” said Gilman. “The process can be overwhelming, so we work in partnership with communities to get the applications in and set them up for success.”
Grant applications are presented to the NGAB quarterly. If approved, the project is recommended to the BCC, which signs off on it. Last fiscal year, the BCC and Mayor Jerry L. Demings increased the grant amount from $10,000 to $15,000. Approximately $400,000 has been distributed through the grant every year.
“These grants make a real difference, and it gets us excited because we can see the direct impact on the community,” said Gilman. “Residents are connecting with other residents, and they’re connecting to the County… and we’re here to help.”
The application deadline for this quarter is October 12. E-mail your application to NeighborhoodGrants@ocfl.net or submit the original application along with any attachments to the Orange County Neighborhood Services Division, 2450 33rd Street, 2nd Floor, Orlando, FL 32839. You can also call 407-836-4212 with questions.