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Posted on May 21, 2014 | 3:17 p.m.

New Santa Barbara Program Will Award Grants for Neighborhood Enhancement Projects

Source: Summers Case for the City of Santa Barbara

The City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department announced on Wednesday the launch of its new Neighborhood Enhancement Program, which will award small grants to civic and religious organizations for small local improvement projects.

Developed in consultation with the city’s Neighborhood Advisory Council, NEP exists to support residents who want to work on small areas of their neighborhoods and aims to foster a wider sense of pride and community ownership downtown.

Mark Alvarado, senior supervisor of the Parks & Recreation Department’s Neighborhood & Outreach Services, which will evaluate applications and administer NEP grants, said he believes NEP projects will make local neighborhoods better places to live.

“NEP will give grassroots organizations the opportunity to work with neighborhood residents to improve areas and add greatly to quality of life,” Alvarado said. “A lot of times it’s the little things that count.”

NEP grants will range from $1,000 to $5,000 and may be awarded to projects such as adopt-a-park efforts, designing and painting murals, helping elderly neighbors with yard work or improving blighted areas, although other projects will be considered. Projects must be located within one of six downtown neighborhoods: Eastside, Westside, Lower Eastside, Lower Westside, Laguna, or West Downtown. NEP funding is secured for the next three years; $20,000 in grants will be available each year.

Applications for this year’s grant cycle must be received by June 16. A printable application form and informational flier are available on the city’s website, and questions should be directed to Neighborhood & Outreach Services by phone at 805.897.2560.

Neighborhood & Outreach Services, part of the City of Santa Barbara’s Parks & Recreation Department, exists to provide a variety of social, educational and community activities to serve all the people in our neighborhoods. With programs like neighborhood mobile food pantries, community gardens, and youth and teen services at three neighborhood centers, NOS is here to help. Click here for more information.

— Summers Case is a marketing coordinator for the City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department.

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