February 13, 2011

by John Kiljan

Planning on having a block party this summer? A community organizational meeting? The City of Arvada may be willing to help pay for it. A neighborhood cleanup project? Again, the City may willing to kick in up to three-quarters of the cost.

In a study session presentation to the Arvada City Council by City planner Linda Hoover on February 7th, the Council was given an update on its proposal to set up a Neighborhood Grant Program. It’s all a part of a broader program to revitalize older Arvada neighborhoods modeled on similar programs in other Front Range cities.

Three types of grants are expected to be offered when the program begins this summer:

* Know Your Neighbor Grants (e.g., block parties) — apply anytime with a $100 limit
* Small Revitalization Grants — scheduled applications with a $1000 limit
* Large Revitalization Grants — Council-approved applications with a $10,000 limit

Strings attached? You bet. Council members are already worried about funds being misspent or competitive awards going to established community associations that are already well versed in making grant applications.

But the City’s planning department seems to be on top of that challenge and expects to do a lot of ‘hand holding’ to help new neighborhood groups (formal or informal) apply for the grants. For larger grants, a 25% local contribution will be expected, but that can be an in-kind contribution of labor or other services by neighborhood volunteers. And, applicants should be prepared to write a short report on how well they did.

Community Development Director, Mike Elms, expects $95,000 to be available to fund the program in 2011.

The grant program offering will be citywide and the details are still being worked out, but a particular target will the pilot neighborhood revitalization area just north of Memorial Park next to City Hall. So, if you and a few of your friends want to get to know your neighbors this spring, or you want to remove graffiti from your local park, clean the trash out of the creek, or clean up an repair your bus stop benches, this may be the time to ask the City to kick in for soda pop, hot dogs, paint, brushes, nails and plywood.


The City has yet to make its presentation package to the Council available online. A formal program announcement is expected in the spring. In the meantime, the City’s contact is Linda Hoover at 720-898-7454 who has printed copies of her presentation material.

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community will post more information online on its website at as it becomes available.

John Kiljan, CLRC News: 303-423-9875 or

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  1. John Kiljan says:

    Here are the official City of Arvada meeting notes for the neighborhood revitalization study session held on February 7th:

    A. Pilot Neighborhood Revitalization Update and Neighborhood Grant

    Mike Elms, Director of Community Development, introduced this item. He said an open house was held in December and approximately 45 people attended and of those, 23 volunteered to participate. He said this evening staff will mainly talk to City Council about the Grant program.

    Linda Hoover, Community Development, said they are proposing three types of grants: 1) Know your Neighbor Grants 2) two grants in the category of Neighborhood Revitalization Grants, one for smaller neighborhoods and one for larger. She said the grant purpose of the Know Your Neighbor Grant would be small grants for improving neighborhood relations/communication – intended to facilitate people getting together, such as for block parties. The Neighborhood Revitalization Grants are both small and large and actually accomplish an activity, event, or a program for the youth or elderly, or possibly signage projects.

    Ms. Hoover said for the Neighborhood Grant, any citizen or property owner can apply; they must complete the Walk the Block map with data for at least 8 lots; must register their group with the City of Arvada; must involve neighbors working together; and that applicants may receive only one of these types of grants per year.

    Ms. Hoover said the Neighborhood Revitalization Grant would be for any organized neighborhood group; they must register their group with the City and demonstrate some membership and evidence that meetings are held; they must provide a 25% match in funding, which can be in the form of cash, labor or donated services and materials. The volunteer labor will be given credit at $10/hr and additional weight will be given to those projects and programs that provide a bigger match; they must involve neighbors working together on projects that result in a physical improvement to the neighborhood or be part of implementing a neighborhood program. Neighborhood surveys, youth activities or doing research on neighborhood history would be an example of non-physical things that might be funded; must demonstrate plan for maintaining any physical improvements/programs; applicants may receive only one of these grants per year.
    Kevin Nichols, Community Development, talked about the selection process for the grants. He said for the “Know Your Neighbor” grants can be applied for any time during the year. The pilot project grants may only be applied for during a specific grant cycle. For both grants, the Neighborhood Revitalization Team (Team) will review and make recommendations. Approvals will be granted by the Community Development Director following the Team recommendation.

    Mr. Nichols said on the City Wide Grants, they will start out with one cycle but may get to two cycles. The Team and Community Development Director will give recommendations to City Council for final approval. Mr. Elms said they would like to set up a committee similar to the Human Services Committee to review the applications. He also confirmed that existing staff will manage the program.

    Mr. Nichols said grant recipients will be reimbursed for allowed expenses following submittal of receipts and they will also be required to file a report describing how the project involved the neighborhood. Mr. Nichols said the Know Your Neighbor Grant would have a limit of $100 per grant with a total budget of $500. For the Neighborhood Revitalization Grants, there is a limit of $9,500 per grant with a total budget of $9,500. City Council thought for the larger grant, the City should fund the money instead of expecting neighbors to come up with it and then get reimbursed from the City. For the City Wide grants, there would be a limit of $100 for the Know Your Neighbor, with 1,000 going to the small projects and $10,000 for the larger projects with a total budget of $45,000. Mr. Elms said this program may have to be refined since we are just getting into it.

    City Council encouraged staff to talk to the neighborhood groups who already hold block parties or work on projects together.


  3. Pingback: CITY OFFERS TO SPONSOR BLOCK PARTIES | ralstoncommunity

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