The Hamilton neighborhood projects that won micro-grant funding through the 17 Strong program, plus the amounts they will receive, are:
Artspace’s Garden Spaces, designed to turn the lot on the west side of the Artspace Lofts building downtown into a community gardening area. Residents will build, plant in, and maintain raised garden beds for the purpose of growing food/flowers. ($3,000)
Back to School Neighborhood Bash, where school supplies were given to children in the East End whose parents are unable to afford food will be served, used clothes given out along with groceries, games and a jumpy castle. ($475.35)
Banners for New German Village Lampposts, a project to provide 12 additional banners and provide additional hardware for the new lampposts in German Village. ($2,950)
Dayton Street Gateway Landscaping, for the re-landscaping of the Dayton Street gateways to include flower bed expansion, new flowers, and mulching. This project includes ongoing maintenance funds to ensure sustainability. ($3,000)
Hamilton Empowerment Weekend, a citywide event consisting of 2½ days of activities that will include a job fair, luncheon with two keynote speakers, dialogue sessions on mental and physical health, personal and business finance, career development, a fraternity step/talent show, community worship service and a meal. ($3,000)
Hamilton’s Neighborhoods Annual Architectural Interest Poster, creating posters highlighting 30 architectural features of Hamilton. The posters will promote awareness of Hamilton’s unique characteristics. ($1,600)
High St. Walking Path Park Bench Rehab, to refurbish one park bench on the walking path near the corner of Hancock Avenue and High Street. This project will also build a second bench and install that bench on the existing concrete pad near the corner of Fair Avenue and High Street, where the original bench is missing. ($3,000)
Highland Park sign for triangle park at Park, Lawn and Cereal Avenues, to contract for manufacture and installation of a sign which states the neighborhood name, Highland Park Historic Neighborhood. ($3,000)
Lindenwald Light Pole Banner Project, for the purchase and installation of light-pole banners for Lindenwald Community, highlighting the business community. ($3,000)
Prospect Hill Newsletter, which will create two editions of a print, color newsletter to be distributed in the Prospect Hill region, once in October and once in December. The newsletter will include articles about historic aspects of Prospect Hill, events going on in Hamilton that would be of interest to neighbors, profiles of influential residents, descriptions of the parks in the neighborhood and city services. ($1,845)
Rossville Historic District Entry Arch Project, which will fund a topographic survey and right-of-way determination study for a Rossville Historic District Entry Arch. This project is the first step of a larger project to design and install an Entry Arch at multiple entry points in the Rossville Historic District. ($3,000)
“Sand Park” Renovation and #OneHamilton Community Event/Youth Basketball Tournament, to repair the basketball courts at “Sand Park” (officially Neilan & Pershing Park) located next to the Hamilton Fire Department on Central Avenue. ($3,000)
Saturday Mentoring Program, to help students (kindergarten through 8th grade) from the neighborhoods of Dayton Lane and the North End who will meet on Saturdays from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. The students will be engaged in crafting, team building, receiving help on school work and learning etiquette. ($2,420)
Signage for the community of West Park, a project that will recognize the West Park Community, developed by WWII veterans in 1947, purchasing signage to recognize the community and the residents and veterans. ($3,000)
Trunk or Treat, which will bring together neighborhood citizens, organizations. ($1,401)
Source: City of Hamilton
Thanks to a $3,000 micro-grant from Hamilton’s 17 Strong program and lots of free help from city organizations, the Neilan & Pershing Park will get a brand new basketball court. Samy Broyles believes the park, in the city’s impoverished 2nd Ward, actually will make all of Hamilton stronger.
The $3,000 will fund two new, sturdy regulation-height basketball backboards, poles and rims, plus a newly surfaced court to be installed later this month, he said. Next year, the new court will host what’s being called a #OneHamilton Community Event and Youth Basketball Tournament.
“Since the time the rims get put up, it’ll be too cold to run an actual tournament — we’ll have that tournament next year,” said Broyles, a program director at the Booker T. Washington Community Center who put the project together as a private citizen.
The grant may be for $3,000, but thanks to donated labor by the city’s Public Works Department and the Hamilton Parks Conservancy, perhaps a $10,000-plus project will be accomplished Oct. 24.
“The city’s public works donated labor and machinery to get the work done, which took out a lot of costs,” he said. The parks conservancy is contributing materials for the court’s resurfacing in the park neighborhood people call “Sand Park,” probably because it was the only park in the community that had sand and a swing set.
“All together, we turned that $3,000 into about a $10,000 project, easily,” he said. “They were just willing to help and make Hamilton a better place — make it One Hamilton.”
The grant was one of 15 awarded for a total of $37,691.35 to neighborhoods across the city. Hamilton had allocated $51,000 for the program, which represented a maximum $3,000 grant for each of 17 neighborhoods.
“We came up with ideas as far as what could help the community and help kids not pick up bad habits, and deter them from violence by more or less doing something constructive with their time, as far as shooting basketball, something that we did as kids,” said Broyles.
A study found “basketball rims and courts correlated with a lower likelihood of violence in a neighborhood,” he said. “Also the beautification of a neighborhood — if a neighborhood looks blighted, you’re more likely to have crime. So this is beautification of a park that will give kids somewhere positive to go who can’t go to the community center at a certain time (of day).”
The park and the basketball tournament also will be places where area companies can recruit youth for jobs, Broyles said.
“I believe it’s positive for giving the individual residents in the community an opportunity to come together, have a common goal, and get buy-in,” he said.
City Council member Kathleen Klink said she was pleased with the projects that won funding, particularly considering that in the program’s first year, neighborhoods didn’t have long to put together their proposals.
One benefit of the micro-grants, she said, was that they gave people in neighborhoods incentive to talk about ways to improve the areas where they live, and then the means to accomplish some of their new goals.
Many of the projects involved either beautification or signs that help better identify areas of the city, which can be key in improving the reputation of a place.
“I think beautification of the neighborhoods is huge,” Broyles said.