WHEELING, W.VA. – The City of Wheeling is encouraging residents to beautify their communities via a new mini grant program entitled Love Your Neighborhood. The program was approved by City Council during Tuesday’s meeting.
City Clerk BJ Delbert explained that the city will offer up to $30,000 city-wide to help citizens to beautify neighborhoods. Each ward will be eligible for $5,000. However, if no applications are submitted from a specific ward, the city reserves the right to distribute monies to other projects in other wards. The program will be administered through the city clerk’s office and all applications will be scored by an application review committee.
“The purpose of this mini-grant program is to empower residents to carry out their own vision for a cleaner, greener and healthier neighborhood. The City of Wheeling encourages resident leaders to show their neighborhood pride by proposing projects and initiatives that will enhance, beautify and revitalize their communities,” she said. “Grant awards will be used solely for the purpose of enabling individuals, resident groups and/or community-based organizations to work with their neighbors in partnership with city agencies to beautify and rejuvenate neighborhoods.”
Vice Mayor Chad Thalman said such a program could breathe new life into the various communities within the City.
“Improving our residential neighborhoods has been a priority over the last five years. This is a project that we hope catches on with the residents and makes a difference,” he said.
Ward 5 Councilor Ty Thorngate said over the last five years, city council has made a big push toward improving the quality of life and keeping open lines of dialogue with all constituents.
“The new Love Your Neighborhood campaign is our next step in building an engaged community. This program will provide mini-grants to each ward in Wheeling and put resources into the hands of the people who understand our neighborhoods best, our residents. It’s our hope that this program will continue the process of revitalizing our neighborhoods and strengthen the ties between city council members and the community,” he said.
Ward 3 Councilor Rosemary Ketchum believes such a program that encourages community improvements and collaboration is paramount.
“Empowering community members to make improvements to their neighborhoods in collaboration with local government is incredibly important. I’m excited to see to this program engage big ideas within our neighborhoods and hopeful that it will create greater momentum to beautify our city.”
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Some neighborhood improvement projects that are eligible include the following:
Vacant lot activation such as green spaces, signage
Ongoing/coordinated litter/trash removal programs such as Adopt-a-Block, litter pick up days
Beautification such as public art created by the community, landscaping, grass/brush removal, benches, crosswalk painting
Programming and public activities such as Children’s Home Society Pocket Park maintenance and activities
Application requirements include the following:
Recruit a total of three or more committed volunteers
Submit a budget including in-kind contributions
Submit a detailed plan that outlines how the project will be implemented, and most importantly sustained
During the project, coordinate a pick-up of litter in the area the project is located
Successful project applications must demonstrate the project will do at least one of the following:
Address a goal that is shared by community members
Be resident-led and show clear support from the community
Increase community connectedness through volunteerism
Help improve residents’ perception of safety
Improve the appearance of the neighborhood
Revitalize a physical space (i.e. vacant lot, green space, etc.) that is underused, overgrown, or an eyesore to the community
Work with city services as necessary to enhance the projects as necessary.(Example: Operations, Sanitation, Parks and Recreation department)
Applications are available in the City Clerk’s office and should be returned to email@example.com by Aug. 31. Grantees will be announced by Sept. 30.
Learn more about Wheeling’s long history of community members organizing to improve the city by checking out these Weelunk articles: