Grant will help improve Denton neighborhoods

Grant will help improve Denton neighborhoods

February 12
22:10 2013

Daniel Bissell / Staff Writer

The neighborhood project matching grant has been resurrected by the city of Denton after six years to provide aid in completing neighborhood improvement projects throughout the city.

According to the city council, the grant matches city and neighborhood resources to complete neighborhood-proposed projects that foster self-help, self-management and neighborhood pride, as well as enhance and beautify the neighborhood.

Denton city council planning supervisor Katia Boykin said the project started in 2001 as a city ordinance, but was dormant from 2006-2012 because of financial setbacks as a result of the economic downturn.

“The program was not funded after 2006,” she said. “It was recently resurrected and restructured to be more flexible and allow citizens more options for neighborhood improvements.”

In order to receive the grant, applicants must fall under one or more of four categories: physical improvements, public safety programs or initiatives, cultural, educational, and recreational programs, and neighborhood master plan or comparable studies that focus on enhancing the neighborhood.

“The matching grant can be used in many ways for things such as playgrounds, park improvements, and literacy programs,” Boykin said. “It can also be used for things such as studies of childhood obesity or literacy rates.”

City of Denton economic development officer Michelle Cunningham said the neighborhood matching grant is different from other city programs in that nonprofits can get involved and money can be compensated with service hours.

She said UNT students are encouraged to use the program to get involved with neighborhood improvement projects.

“UNT students are invited to partner groups with of five or more businesses or people from local neighborhoods to complete neighborhood improvement projects using the grant,” she said.

City council member Kevin Roden said the program was started Feb. 1 with $50,000 to use in matching grants with costs of various projects. He said the program will be especially beneficial to low-income neighborhoods that often lack the funds to start their own improvement projects.

“It has limitations, but it’s broad enough to cover projects ranging from planting trees to creating after-school programs,” he said. “We want to create more avenues through which citizens can improve the areas they live in.”

Roden said a neighborhood matching grant workshop will be held at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the city of Denton facilities on Woodrow Lane.

He said the meeting is mandatory for applicants, but that it won’t be the only one available. Three additional meetings will be held at later times.

“We hope the matching grant program will improve the quality and services of neighborhoods in Denton,” Boykin said.

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