Neighborhood groups and organizations hoping to make improvements in Hollywood have a new funding source through a program that was announced Monday by City Council President Eric Garcetti, 13th District.
The program, called “Clean and Connected Communities”, offers grants of up to $2,500 for beautification projects. Three projects will be selected in each of the eight communities within the 13th Council District, including Hollywood, East Hollywood, Historic Filipinotown, Echo Park, Atwater Village, Silver Lake, Elysian Valley and Glassell Park.
“Community engagement and beautification are two of my top priorities, and Clean and Connected Communities combines them both,” Garcetti said. “No one knows more about what a neighborhoods needs than the people who live there. Through this program, neighborhood residents will choose initiatives to make their communities cleaner, greener and safer.”
Julie Wong, a deputy to Garcetti, said the funding will come from the council office’s discretionary fund. The council offices received $80,000 for the current fiscal year that can be used to complete projects, help struggling community organizations or be used for other improvements at the councilmember’s discretion. Wong said because there is a limited amount of funding, the idea is for organizations to partner to complete projects. Participants could include schools, neighborhood councils, non-profit organizations, neighborhood watch groups and other community-based entities. Projects must be located in the 13th Council District, and involve physical improvements such as tree plantings, landscaping, community gardens, murals or clean-up projects. Organizations must provide matching funds. Applications can be submitted at www.cd13land.blogspot.com, and the deadline is April 13.
“We want to see what people actually want for their neighborhood,” Wong said. “There are a lot of things people could do with it, and it will depend on the quality of the proposals.”
The program is so new that on Tuesday, representatives from many organizations in the Hollywood area were unaware that it existed. Kerry Morrison, executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, said the funding could definitely be useful.
“Twenty-five hundred dollars could certainly go a long way,” Morrison said. “It is really intriguing for the kinds of things that could easily be accomplished, such as simple landscaping improvements or infrastructure needs like fixing broken sidewalks or creating tree wells. That is money that could be very well spent.”
Sharyn Romano, CEO of the Hollywood Beautification Team, said she envisions partnering with community groups to apply for funding for tree plantings or other green projects.
“This is a very nice idea because the city had to stop funding for neighborhood improvement grants because of the budget problems. It’s nice that Council President Garcetti has stepped up to fill that gap,” Romano added. “These neighborhood projects are very important for the community. We partner with many people, and we will probably help a neighborhood group or schools in getting their projects done.”
Emily Morton, director of communications for Ecclesia Hollywood, a non-denominational church located in the former Hollywood Pacific Theatre at 6433 Hollywood Blvd., said the church will be looking for funding through the program to make improvements to a vacant concrete lot located next to their building. The lot and building is owned by Pacific Theatres, which leases the space to the church, and while it is currently fenced and there are no plans for development, Morton said members of the church have been looking for ways to make improvements at the vacant lot. A decorative cover with faux vines has already been installed on a rear fence and flowers have been planted, but Morton said more could be done.
“We have been given permission to clean up the lot and make improvements next door,” Morton added. “We have been working with volunteers, but that is limited, so any additional funding would be great,”
Once the application deadline passes, the council office staff will select semi-finalists. Community members will then be invited to vote for the final grant recipients.
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