Love Your Block Grants Program Expands to Highlawn | New
HUNTINGTON – A program that has supported community revitalization in West Huntington is coming to Highlawn.
Love Your Block, which has been in West Huntington since 2018, will soon be opening applications for project ideas in the Highlawn neighborhood.
Two AmeriCorps members from the town of Huntington spearhead the initiative. Kalyn Obiozor is the coordinator of Highlawn and Katie Keefer is the coordinator of West Huntington.
“Love Your Block is an initiative to revitalize neighborhoods one block at a time,” Obiozor said.
The program uses mini-grants and city resources to focus on growth in urban areas. Funding supports community projects that residents want, which may include repairs, cleanings, and other revitalization projects.
Obiozor said Highlawn’s Love Your Block program started alongside Project SHINE, which invited applications earlier this year, to get the word out in the community. Love Your Block apps will open on Monday, May 10. Obiozor said the plan is to focus on projects up to $ 1,000 that include community activities, beautification projects and waste prevention.
Applications can be completed online or picked up at Town Hall.
“We have had several projects in West Huntington over the past two years. I think some of our biggest accomplishments have been going out and talking with community members and addressing issues that directly affect community members, ”Keefer said.
Love Your Block allows the city to work with community members from scratch by allowing residents to say what problems they want to solve and then get the resources to find solutions, Keefer said.
Keefer said one of the highlights of the program in West Huntington has been improvements to a playground at Celebration Church on 19th Street. Flower beds and dining benches have been added to the site. The existing equipment was repainted.
“It really made the space more child-friendly and more welcoming to the community in general,” Keefer said.
Obiozor said Love Your Block can continue to build on the efforts already made by the residents of Highlawn. The Highlawn neighborhood is active with events such as community cleanups, she said.
“I think it will really help to identify, as a whole, the things that need to happen at Highlawn, and then really attract those people to fix those issues,” Obiozor said.
Obiozor and Keefer said the goal is for Love Your Block to be run by neighborhoods. In the future, they plan to expand the program to other communities in Huntington.
Another hope with Highlawn’s expansion is that neighborhoods will be able to work together to provide support and resources for their Love Your Block programs. Residents of West Huntington, which is in its third year in the program, can provide insight to residents of Highlawn.
Highlawn Neighborhood Association president Linda Blough said information about Love Your Block was presented at a recent neighborhood meeting. She said residents have been brainstorming a few ideas that could be submitted on an application.
“I love our neighborhood. I think we have a perfect neighborhood, and I think any cosmetic update or upgrade is a good thing, ”said Blough.
McKenna Horsley is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @mckennahorsley.