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Valparaiso celebrates first two neighborhood grant projects

Valparaiso officials and residents hold a small ribbon cutting ceremony for a new sidewalk connecting two parts of the Beauty Creek Villas subdivision. The project was paid for by a city neighborhood improvement grant.

VALAPRAISO — Two new sidewalks built under the city's community grant program opened Monday night as more projects, ranging from streetlights to volleyball courts, will finish up later this year.

The city's community engagement department held a ribbon cutting for the new walkways on Brown Street and Vale Park Road. Homeowner or neighborhood associations worked with residents who applied for the city's new neighborhood improvement grant last year.

“The program allows neighborhood groups or an HOA to really decide what they want to see in their neighborhood,” Valparaiso Community Engagement Director Maggie Clifton said. “Brown Street was prioritized by a group of neighbors, while with Vale Park, the association approached us.”

The program started in 2018. Grants of up to $15,000 were available to neighborhood groups in 2019, with a total of $60,000 available. The grant funds were provided by the Redevelopment Commission. The program is run by the community engagement department.

Eight projects were approved, ranging from $1,000 to $12,000. The sidewalks had a total of $19,000 granted toward them. The other projects include signs, streetlights for Oakwood Estates, playground upgrades in the Banta neighborhood and a volleyball court in Berkley Park.

“The volleyball court looks like it will start towards the end of May, and maybe will get wrapped up in June,” said Clifton. “That will be maintained by the parks department when putting it up wraps up.”

The city is getting ready to accept applications for projects in 2020. A public information session on how to apply will be held at 5 p.m. May 14 at Valparaiso Public Library.

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