City provides grants for beautification projects
By Meagan McGone
MELBOURNE - In an effort to enhance its public areas, the city of Melbourne is offering grants to residents and groups interested in completing beautification projects.
Steven Graham, parks administrator for the city, said Melbourne will provide grants of $500 to $2,500 to applicants who are willing to spruce up the city, provided that they give an in-kind match of 50 percent.
"City Manager Jack Schluckebier had received requests for public landscape improvements in previous years," Mr. Graham said. "This program enables the city to work with interested parties and share the expenses to improve public curb appeal, which benefits the community at large."
He said the grants would be awarded for projects that beautify public rights of way and medians, which would provide aesthetics and environmental values for a larger population of residents traveling throughout the community.
Currently, only area residents and local nonprofits may apply, though a grant program for city beautification may be open to businesses in the future if there is a demonstrated need, Mr. Graham said.
Those interested in seeking a grant must complete an application form, which can be found via www.melbourneflorida.org/leisure/parks.htm. Landscaped areas must be maintained for one year, and grants will be awarded as reimbursements after the work is complete.
The city will fund as much as $12,000 in the coming months, Mr. Graham said.
"There are many documented benefits to beautification," he said. "A well-planned landscape has a calming affect on traffic and provides joy to the psychology of residents."
Landscapes also provide environmental benefits, such as reducing heating and air conditioning expenses, he said, reducing pollutants, primarily associated with vehicles and improved stormwater management and reducing the need for as many treatment ponds.