Orange County’s Neighborhood Pride Grants
From Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson
Orange County cherishes its communities by giving property owner associations and neighborhood groups the opportunity to apply for Neighborhood Pride Grants. There are six grant applications available for improving physical and social qualities of neighborhoods. All grant applications may be submitted as many times as an organization wishes. However, organizations may not be awarded grant funds more than 2 consecutive years at a time. Once submitted, applications are selected based on need and on a first-come, first-serve basis. This process is very competitive and only a limited number of grants are awarded to each district every calendar year. The purpose of this article is to discuss the different types of Pride Grants, what each has to offer, and how to apply for them.
The Neighborhood Pride Landscaping Grant offers a maximum of $2,500 for projects not exceeding $3,125 in total cost, and a community contribution of 25% is required. This Grant is designed for landscaping enhancements, which, for example, are found in entranceways. On a similar note, the Entranceway Grant offers up to $5,000 with a $5,250 ceiling total project cost and 5% community contribution. This Grant can be used to assist with projects involving signs, repairs for irrigation systems, wall pressure washing and painting, entranceway improvements, and ground lighting.
Major damages to walls fall under the Wall Repair Grant. This grant offers up to $20,000 with many restrictions, one recognizing that non-profit organizations are not eligible. In addition, the Neighborhood Preservation and Revitalization Division stresses that qualifying walls be repaired to their original condition. The Neighborhood Grants Advisory Board is the authority to determine as to whether a certain wall contains large-scale structural damage, as required by the Grant’s criteria.
Unlike the Wall Repair Grant, the Neighborhood Pride Mini-Grant only offers up to $1,500 for a $1,500 maximum project cost. In addition, this Grant requires no community contribution match. Another grant that does not require a community contribution is the Neighborhood Sign Grant and offers up to $5,000 for projects not exceeding $5,000 in total cost.
There are projects that can be utilized if changes occur in a community. For example, suppose a number of families with small children move into a community; the addition of a playground would make a positive contribution to the area. This is one of many goals for the Neighborhood Pride Capital Improvement Grant. The Grant offers up to $10,000 for projects that do not exceed $20,000 in total cost, with a 25% contribution.
If an organization wants to begin an application, it can attend one of the Neighborhood Preservation & Revitalization Division’s free grant workshops. The Division is available to look at each respective organization’s application even before making their final submissions. Those who have pride in their communities and are ready to make a difference may call the Division’s phone number at (407) 836-5606 or go online to http://www.orangecountyfl.net/NeighborsHousing/NeighborhoodRevitalization/NeighborhoodGrants/NeighborhoodPrideGrants.aspx#.WlayM66nG00 to access each application. All applications are reviewed every year from October through June. Each organization applying is required to have a specified number of members on their grant team, depending on the grant(s) they are applying for; with a dedicated grant team, residents can experience and take part in the pride that Orange County has in its communities.