Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Renton Readies Matching Grants To Homeowner Groups

by Matt Rosenberg April 21st, 2011

SUMMARY: The Community Services Department of Renton has recommended the City Council approve nearly $50,000 in matching neighborhood grants for six projects sponsored by homeowners associations. The projects would make home addresses more visible to public and emergency vehicles, improve or establish community gardens, complete a new playground, and add picnic tables, garbage cans and signage about pet waste. Full council approval of the funding recommendations could come as soon as April 25.

BACKGROUND: The Renton City Council budgeted $86,000 in 2011 for its Neighborhood Grant Program and has already approved $8,063 of that for newsletters and communications by its officially approved neighborhoods. Recommendations from city staff on spending another $48,172 in program funds for homeowner association matching grants were initially presented to the City Council this week and were referred to the council’s Community Services Committee, with approval from that body and the full council expected as soon as April 25. Criteria for recommended approval of the 50 percent grants included sufficient matching funds from communities, volunteer labor for maintenance after implementation, and broad and visible benefits. The remaining $29,766 in Neighborhood Grant Program funds for 2011 would be available for mini-grants of up to $1,000 each.

KEY LINK: City of Renton Staff Recommendations on 2011 Neighborhood Grant Applications, April 18, 2011

KEY FINDINGS:

The six matching grants city staff is recommending for council approval follow.

  • Highbury Park Homeowners Association, $1,313 to paint house numbers on curbs so public and emergency vehicles can better see addresses.
  • LaCrosse Homeowners Association, $2,303 to add fruit-bearing plants to an existing community garden, to be shared by residents.
  • Liberty Grove Homeowners Association, $6,873 to upgrade the entrance to the community with landscaping, and to install a sprinkler system.
  • Stonegate Homeowners Association, $22,061 to install play structure, benches, bike rack and waste containers in a new children’s playground.
  • Sunset Neighborhood Association, $12,799 to develop a community garden on land owned by Calvary Baptist Church. Spaces would be rented out and excess produce would be distributed to needy individuals.
  • Tiffany Park Neighborhood Association, $2,823 for two picnic tables, trash containers and signs reminding visitors to pick up after their pets.

City staff recommended against the following matching grant requests.

  • Langley Ridge at May Creek Homeowners Association, $2,251 to install a six-foot cedar fence and place large boulders along a city right-of-way property line. Staff reported fences aren’t allowed on city right-of-ways and the plan would prevent legal use of the land by neighbors. “Staff would support a landscaping project and encourage residents to apply in 2012.”
  • Victoria Hills Homeowners Association, $13,375 for video surveillance system at neighborhood exit points to help identify criminal suspects. Staff stated city liability risks would be increased by allowing security cameras on city structures and electrical connections. Ongoing maintenance costs of non-standard equipment on city facilities were also a concern.
  • Geneva Court-Talbot Ridge Homeowners Association, $3,125 for cleanup of neighborhood retention pond, to comply with stormwater management regulations. The city will be assuming control of the retention pond next year but first the association must bring it into compliance, and bear the cost of doing so.

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