The city of San Luis Obispo is extending a grant program that helps fund neighborhood projects, setting aside $20,000 between 2017 to 2019 to support citizen-led projects that aim to “enhance and strengthen” neighborhoods.
The City Council agreed to a two-year extension of the program on March 7, and increased the amount of public funding available from $15,000 to $20,000.
“It’s a really cool program,” said SLO City Councilman Dan Rivoire, “that’s been empowering for neighborhoods to do something they want to do.”
Projects may include a physical improvement to a neighborhood, events or activities to bring neighbors together, or other initiatives that boost community engagement.
Since the program launched in 2015, city grants contributed to four neighborhood projects: a cleanup of a pedestrian path at Islay Hill park, a landscaping project at Mitchell Park, and seasonal social gatherings in the Cerro San Luis and Serra Meadow neighborhoods. The city contributed $12,300 in total to those efforts.
The projects that were funded in the last cycle show the wide-ranging opportunities available for the community to pursue, said Rebecca Gershow, a city planner who serves as the coordinator for the program.
Though the application period for 2017-2018 doesn’t open until August, Gershow encouraged city dwellers to start brainstorming ideas and engaging with neighbors now. Getting the limited city funds requires submitting a detailed application that clearly outlines the project, demonstrates its benefits, and shows broad community support for it.
“It is a bureaucratic process [because] it’s still city funding,” Gershow said. “It takes a strong organizer to spearhead these projects and a committed neighborhood.”