Fishers Vibrant Neighborhood Matching Grant Program Accepting Applications Until January 31
From lighting replacements to tree plantings, many Fishers neighborhoods are beautified every year via the city’s vibrant neighborhood matching grant program.
“The purpose of the grant is to help with exterior beautification and enhancement projects,” says Megan Schaefer, a planner with the City of Fishers. “[We try to] help with funding for neighborhoods that are older and maybe need a little bit more help. We want to incentivize improvements for older neighborhoods so that they continue looking just as good as the new subdivisions that go in.”
Applications for the 2020 vibrant neighborhood matching grants are open from now through Jan. 31. Both individuals and HOA’s are encouraged to apply for up to $5,000 of funding. For the 2020 cycle, funding for the program was increased to $75,000, which marks a $20,000 increase from 2019.
It’s also worth noting that the 2020 vibrant neighborhood matching grant program combines the former tree and neighborhood matching grant programs, which had been separate for years. With this being said, both landscape and hardscape projects are eligible for consideration in the 2020 vibrant neighborhood matching grant program.
“Previously, we had been administering the neighborhood matching grant for 19 years and the tree matching grant for eight years,” Schaefer says. “As we were administering those programs, we found that they essentially funded the same types of projects — it was neighborhoods applying for beautification projects such as sign upgrades or landscaping upgrades. So we thought, ‘Why don’t we just combine both of these programs into one? That will cut down on the time and cost that it takes to administer them.’”
With the new vibrant neighborhood matching grants, Schaefer explains some of the major factors that are being taken into consideration.
“We typically prioritize neighborhoods that are 10 years or older and also applicants who have not received funding from one of our former grant programs in the past,” she says.
Past that, the committee also considers how many people will be impacted by the project.
“Let’s say the entrance to your subdivision is off of 116th Street,” Schaefer says. “Not only will that benefit the residents in your neighborhood, but it will also benefit everyone driving by it everyday.”
Last year, the Lantern Pines neighborhood (located just north of 96th Street on Lantern Road) received a neighborhood matching grant to help fund lighting improvements at the neighborhood’s entrance.
“It was a beautification piece but then it also enhanced the security of our little neighborhood here that we’ve been so privileged to have for the last 25 years,” says Drew Boyd, president of the Lantern Pines Property Owners Association.
Now upon driving into his Lantern Pines neighborhood, Boyd is filled with an added sense of comfort.
“Every time I drive into the neighborhood at night now, everything is really lit up,” Boyd says. “The lighting just really made a big impact on the welcoming feel of the neighborhood.”
For the Bradford Ridge and Bradford Knoll neighborhoods (located at the intersection of 106th Street and Cumberland Road), it was a similar story, as the Bradford Ridge/Knoll HOA recently used a matching grant from the city to make entrance updates.
“The Fishers city matching grant allowed us to pool our reserves together with the city to remove old 25-year fencing and replace dead and overgrown bushes with new, hardy perennials,” says Bradford Ridge/Knoll HOA treasurer Rich Moorlach. “Sight lines were also significantly improved for shared HOA/city entrances to Cumberland Park soccer fields from 106th Street, as 12 inches of top soil and 3-foot high bushes were removed from the center island.”
When it comes to the application process for 2020, individuals and HOA’s must submit all information by the Jan. 31 deadline. From there, applicants will be notified in the spring on whether they received the grant or not.
“The neighborhood then has until Nov. 1, 2020 to install or do the work for whatever their improvement is,” Schaefer says. “From there, they have to provide us pictures of project completion and proof of payment, and we will reimburse them for the costs that we granted.”
All in all, Boyd says the City of Fishers makes the process simple and straightforward for applicants.
“The process was a little bit intimidating at first, just because it was something new,” Boyd says. “But once I read through the instructions and put the paperwork together, it was pretty turnkey.”
At the end of the day, he believes that nicer neighborhoods make the City of Fishers a better place to live, work and play.
“When we have nicer neighborhoods, it helps the whole town of Fishers continue to look good and become a place where people want to come and live,” Boyd says.
For more information on how you or your HOA can apply for a vibrant neighborhood matching grant, be sure to visit fishers.in.us/1076/Matching-Grants. The application process remains open from now through Jan. 31.