Love Your Block Program Allocations Help Eliminate Blight

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RESIDENTS HOPE TO address blight in Gary communities through the Love Your Block Program which receives support from the city and the Urban League of NW Indiana.

By: Giavonni Nickson

Giavonni Nickson

Blight elimination and prevention are essential to Gary resident’s health, safety, and welfare. The Love Your Block (LYB) program plans to make blight in Gary a thing of the past through collaboration with city government officials and residents.

The City of Gary, in collaboration with the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, will request proposals from certified block clubs to provide them with resources for high-impact projects that utilize volunteerism for neighborhood blight prevention and elimination.

The Love Your Block (LYB) program is managed by the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services. Volunteer clean-up activities that eliminate blight may include: mowing overgrown lawns, boarding up abandoned buildings, removing trash, and trimming overgrown bushes.

Volunteer construction activities that prevent blight may include: building community gardens, laying walking paths, and building park fences.

In addition to resident volunteerism, the city will offer assistance through department services and resources where appropriate.

The development of block clubs will make Gary residents essential partners in tackling the issue of blight in the city by beautifying neighborhoods and making them safer. With LYB resources and department assistance the City of Gary hopes to support block clubs in their ongoing service to the community.

PROJECTS THAT BEAUTIFY using creative art forms are being utilized by communities to address the unattractiveness of blighted deteriorating neighborhoods.

The resource package awards are up to $1,500 per block club. The City of Gary will use award funds to purchase the supplies and materials needed to execute the proposed project. Love Your Block will give tools, materials, and supplies to resident-led projects.

Completed Love Your Block projects will be places in the community that offer safety, a sense of ownership, and opportunities for future collaboration.

Resources will be allocated to projects in the following target neighborhoods: Emerson, Horace-Mann, Glen Park, Marshalltown, Aetna, and Tolleston. Block Clubs must reside in the following neighborhoods, but their volunteer base does not have to be based entirely in that neighborhood.

Block Clubs will take a step in building a sustainability plan to insure that the projects have a continual benefit for their neighborhood

Each club can apply for two “neighborhood kits,” which will include materials and supplies essential to implementing their proposed projects.

The Neighborhood Tool Kit  package includes the materials and supplies for a project site to host a community tool shed. This package includes a steel storage shed, and tools.

The keys to these sheds will be held and managed by the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services and will be lent upon request to block club members. Sheds will serve as permanent storage sites for tools that can continually be used for neighborhood clean-ups.

The Neighborhood Blight Elimination Kit package will largely be determined by the applicant. Some potential projects that may be covered with this kit include: community gardens, neighborhood parks, or public art installations.

 Minimum Qualifications

Project proposals must be submitted by a member of a Block Club that is officially certified by the Urban League of Northwest Indiana with the intent that the designated block club will be responsible for organizing volunteers, implementing the project, and maintaining its functionality in the long term. Community leaders who are interested in receiving LYB resources must contact the Urban League to become a block club. Upon completing the block club application form, they can then contact the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services to apply for their project to receive Love Your Block resources.

Applying for a neighborhood block club will give residents funding resources, block beautification training, and an opportunity to make a long term impact in their community.

Program Coordinators are available for consultation throughout the entire application, selection, and participation process. For details on the program or application process contact:

Conner Rettig vistalovemyblock@ci.gary.in.us  219-881-4815 ext. 16529

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