Neighborhoods submit grant requests

Local neighborhood and business associations made $180,000 in requests from the two pools of money.

Elizabeth Smith

Applications closed late last month for funding from the University of Minnesota’s Good Neighbor Fund and the Vikings Partnership Fund. There is $132,000 in grants available for 16 groups — most of which are in the campus area.

The organizations, part of the school’s Stadium Area Advisory Group, put in more than $300,000 total in requests — about two-thirds of which were from six area neighborhood and business associations.

Area neighborhoods applied for cosmetic improvements like gardens, conveniences like bike racks and a total of two community ovens.

The University awards about $40,000 to $60,000 in Good Neighbor funds each year, said Jan Morlock, director of community relations. The $90,000 Vikings Partnership Fund was created as a result of the University’s agreement to let the Minnesota Vikings use TCF Bank Stadium for NFL games this year and next year.

The applications will be reviewed by a Fund Management Committee, which will make its recommendations to the University and the Stadium Area Advisory Group on April 28. The grant agreements are set to be finalized by June 1.

 

South East Como Improvement Association

Total amount requested: $12,200

SECIA wants to expand its FairShare Farm community gardens by adding a community oven to it. SECIA board members hope the oven will bring the community together to bake.

The association wants money for the materials and workers to build the oven, storage space for wood, training to run it and several other people and items related to the maintenance and construction of the oven. If SECIA receives funding for it, the oven would be completed by
June 2016.

“Anytime you start the fire, it’s potentially a three-day event,” Ricardo McCurley, Director of SECIA said. “We’ll [send a mass email] to the neighborhood so anyone can bring something they’d like to bake.”

 

Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association

Total amount requested: $66,630

The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association wants to add signage to the Greenway’s difficult-to-navigate roads in the form of kiosks, gateway markers and banners. The association also hopes to add native plants along the Greenway.

The signs will give people who are unfamiliar with the area a better understanding of how to get to the light rail, communications director Chris Lautenschlager said.

The association also wants to create an online platform for local artists, which accounted for about $27,000 of its request.

Marcy-Holmes has a large local-artist community, and the website would be a way for them to get local publicity, Lautenschlager said.

 

Dinkytown Business Alliance

Total amount requested: $6,350

The DBA is partnering with the city, a local vender and the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition to bring more bike parking to campus. If its request is granted, 12 bike racks and two bike corrals will be added to Dinkytown by April 2016.

The grants would pay for the manufacturing and instillation of the bike racks and corrals.

City funding for 12 additional bike racks and two more bike corrals depends on the association receiving funding for the 14 items it requested.

The combination of TCF Bank Stadium, recent housing and retail developments in the area and the opening of the Dinkytown Greenway contribute to the need for more bike parking, according to the DBA’s application.

 

Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association

Total amount requested: $28,169.70

PPERIA submitted three grant requests:

1. One for a garden at the Textile Center of Minnesota with plants that naturally create dye

2. Decorative vinyl wrapping for utility boxes in the neighborhood

3. A wood-fired community oven

Prospect Park wants to add a cage over the community oven so people can’t light it without permission.

Tamara Johnson, the Master Planning Chair, said local artists will design the vinyl wraps.

“[Vinyl wraps] will help tie together University Avenue and signify that this is a neighborhood,” she said.

Jenny Jones, marketing director for Textile Center of Minnesota, said the dye garden will be something the community can use for a long time.

 

West Bank Community Coalition

Total amount requested: $15,000

The West Bank Community Coalition’s Bluff Street Park Taskforce hopes to restore part of the Mississippi River Bluff to its natural state by planting native grasses.

The WBCC also wants to expand its Cedar Riverside Explorers Club, which it started last year using money from the Good Neighbor Fund.

The club currently works to connect local youth with events at the University and Augsburg College.

Phillip Kelly, assistant director of the West Bank Community Coalition, said the coalition wants to expand its programs by including tours of places in the neighborhood, like hospitals and college campuses, where the children could work.

“We bring them to campuses to inspire the kids to see themselves on campuses,” Kelly said.

 

The West Bank Business Association

Total amount requested: $80,261.60

The West Bank Business Association submitted five grant requests:

1. The association wants to expand its community garden by adding planting beds, picnic benches, an umbrella and a compost bin. The WBBA also wants to offer educational classes on growing food in an urban setting with the help of the Brian Coyle Center.

2. The WBBA is also applying for money for a coffee stand on Cedar-Riverside’s  planned outdoor plaza.

3. The association wants to add 15 lit signs and maps to highlight parking in the area.

4. The association also hopes to add lighting and security cameras around the Darul Quba Cultural Center near the Green Line light rail to make the area safer.

5. Additionally, the WBBA wants to use the money to remove graffiti and litter from the neighborhood.