Neighborhood projects get $1.24 million from Seattle City Council

Community Orchard and Lafayette Play it forward programs included in 2010

On Aug. 2 the Seattle City Council approved $1.24 million in awards to support neighborhood projects.

Included in the 2010 budget were the Community Orchard of West Seattle who are building a new orchard to eventually support 30 new fruit trees and 36 berry bushes. In addition, volunteers will assist with art projects to develop a gate, patio, signage, tables, and benches, that will create an inviting community green space. Also part of the 2010 budget was the "Play It Forward" project whose goal is to replace the current play structure and update the play area to make an updated, safe, and fun play area/public space for Lafayette students and local neighborhood residents.

Seventeen community organizations will receive funds from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods' Matching Fund Program for projects as diverse as the renovation of historic cottages, playground improvements and youth arts education.

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods' Large Projects Fund annually provides cash awards up to $100,000 to neighborhood organizations committed to fostering and building a better community.The funding matches privately-raised money, donated materials, and volunteer labor. The 2010 awards range from $25,100 to $100,000 and communities are matching the city's $1.24 million contribution with resources valued at nearly $1.25 million.Here is a listing of the 2010 award recipients.

"In tough economic times like these, the incredible value the Neighborhood Matching Fund projects provides across our city becomes apparent," said Councilmember Mike O'Brien, chair of the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee. "Community volunteers invest $1.52 of donations and sweat equity for every $1 of taxpayer support.It's a win-win for the neighborhood and the city."

Every application to the Large Projects Funds undergoes a thorough evaluation process. Applications are reviewed by District Council Review Teams as well the Citywide Review Team (CRT), a group of representatives from each of the 13 Neighborhood Districts with 4 at-large community members,These volunteers spent 80+ hours reading applications, interviewing applicants, attending meetings, and making funding recommendations for each applicant over a six week period. "What a perfect example of a true partnership between the City and the community; the Citywide Review Team members' personal commitment and community expertise is at the core of the success of the Large Projects Fund," states Stella Chao, director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods."What a perfect time for us to be supporting community volunteerism and creativeness to keep our neighborhoods strong!"

"Not only has the Neighborhood Matching Fund produced incredible projects over the past 22 years, it's created enduring partnerships through its amazing network of volunteers," said Councilmember Nick Licata. "I shudder to think what Seattle might be like today without these neighborhood improvements."

"I'm not alone in feeling that our CRT investment of time is the coolest and most rewarding thing we do," said Janis Traven, member of the CRT and Magnolia/Queen Anne District Council."Each project captured both our imagination and respect for the inclusive and creative ways envisioned to strengthen neighborhood and build community. I'd happily dedicate twice as much time to CRT, and think that the (Neighborhood Matching Fund) budget should be quadrupled - it's tremendous bang for the buck for the City."

Since the program was created 22 years ago, the Neighborhood Matching Fund has awarded more than $46 million with a community match of more than $69 million.Projects have involved nearly 82,000 volunteers who have donated over 569,000 work hours.

To learn more about the Fund, visit www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf/.

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