by John Kiljan
Want to do something to spiff up your Arvada neighborhood? Remove graffiti? Rebuild a row of old fences? Plant some flowers along City streets or hang them from the lampposts and street signs? Clean up a few trashy or weedy vacant lots? Start a multi-family garden? Clean off the bus benches when RTD doesn’t? Paint a mural? Repaint hydrants and rusty old signal controller cabinets? Scrub old ads off light poles? Clean the street gutters that your elderly neighbors can’t? Is the cost of equipment and supplies what’s holding you back?
If the answer to any of those questions is ‘yes,’ and you have a few friends willing to pitch in to help, there are a two dates to put on your calendar: March 8th and 13th at 6 pm at the locations listed below. City planners will be holding informational meetings at those times targeting informal groups or individuals who have ideas for pitching in to improve their neighborhoods.
Cash grants for the annual neighborhood improvement program go up to $10,000 each and are available citywide. It’s not just fixing up things that are unsightly that are eligible for the grants. Almost anything that helps create a sense of community, such as documenting your neighborhood’s history is also eligible. Past awards for Ralston Road neighborhoods have included planting tulips along Yukon Street and helping with improvements to the Delva Community Gardens.
So why the informational meetings? City staff members want to make sure that all Arvada citizens have access to the information they need to apply for the grant program. Home owners associations, businesses and church groups tend to be pretty good at applying for and receiving grants of public monies. They are also better funded than a handful of neighbors who simply want to clean up their streets. The idea here is to not shut out more effective grass-root efforts simply because the applicants don’t yet know how to write up a good idea or fill out the required paperwork.
Does the City’s effort to level the playing field mean that you are sure to get a grant if your group is small and unorganized? Not at all. Awards will still be competitive and based on merit, so you have to do your best when you apply. These meetings are intended to help smaller groups of citizens do just that.
Even if you don’t yet know what you want to do to help out your community, think about attending one of the meetings anyway. The City often provides cookies and pizza at these events and at least you’ll get some ideas. And, who knows, you might even team up with a reformed graffiti artist who wants to paint a nice mural on the Carr Street bridge wingwalls.
Here are the meeting locations:
March 8 – 6pm – APEX Recreation Ctr. (Randall Room) at 13150 W. 72nd Avenue
March 13– 6pm. – at Saint Andrews Lutheran Church located at 6774 W. 66th Avenue
Both meetings will cover the same material, so you only need to attend one.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The City’s web page for the grant programs (complete with application forms, a full program description and application deadlines) can be found at
Arvada City program contacts are Kevin Nichols (720-898-7464) and Linda Hoover (720-898-7454).
There is also a well-written article by the Denver Post’s Joe Vaccarelli about the grant program in YourHub.com. You can read it by going to this link:
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community will post more information online on its website at www.RalstonCommunity.org as it becomes available. You can also friend us on Facebook. Our name is “Ralston Arvada.”
John Kiljan, CLRC News: 303-423-9875 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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