The Arlington Neighborhood Matching Grant Program reopened its call for projects on Monday.
The Matching Grant Program was started in 2007 to help beautify Arlington and support residents with the projects they might not have the funds to complete alone, said senior planner Sarah Stubblefield.
Stubblefield said the program was developed as a way for neighborhoods to take ownership over projects they'd like to see in their neighborhood. It targets projects that are too small-scale for the city to do but too big for individuals.
Additionally, the program is meant to bring neighborhoods together because knowing your neighbors reduces crime rates, Stubblefield said. Going through the process of the Matching Grant Project helps residents get to know each other.
“Putting an application together and managing a project together really brings our neighborhoods together,” Stubblefield said. “The overall long-term benefits of it are really important for making sure we keep our neighborhoods beautiful and strong.”
Past projects have included signage projects, neighborhood entryway signs and playground re-mulching. A 2018 projects PowerPoint can be viewed online here for ideas.
The program has now been running for more than 10 years (minus a hiatus to revamp the system from 2012 to 2016), and more than a million dollars have been granted to improve Arlington’s neighborhoods.
However, running the program’s process during a global pandemic is new, Stubblefield said, and as a result the program might be a little different this year for residents and officials.
These neighborhood projects are often something that people take on in addition to all the other things going on in their lives. With the coronavirus pandemic, city officials know that people are more stressed now than in previous years, which could affect how many want to take on a project.
“But we have had some good interest, and we think that hopefully our neighbors are ready to focus on something good for a little bit. And hopefully that will be one of these neighborhood projects,” Stubblefield said.