Mayor Edwin M. Lee and City Administrator Naomi Kelly announced $1.2 million in matching Community Challenge Grants to residents, businesses, schools, non-profits and community groups to make neighborhood greening and beautification improvements.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) also contributed funding for projects with stormwater benefits to the City’s sewer system.
< p>“These are innovative projects that were created and inspired by residents and businesses who will be making improvements to their own neighborhoods,” said Mayor Lee. “Community Challenge Grants help all of San Francisco’s diverse communities improve their streets, parks and schools while enhancing the economic vitality and vibrancy of our city.”
Funding for Community Challenge Grants comes from city businesses that voluntarily designate one percent of their business tax toward Community Challenge Grants. The program is an important tool for communities who want to leverage public and private dollars to undertake neighborhood improvement projects.
“We are allowing the creative ideas generated from grassroots community groups to become reality,” said City Administrator Kelly. “Many of these projects to improve our City’s quality of life and environmental health would never be implemented if not for the Community Challenge Grants program.”
The bulk of the awards are for permeable sidewalk landscaping, public artwork, graffiti and litter abatement, community gardens and gathering spaces, equitably covering all areas of the city.
A portion of Community Challenge Grants are supported by the SFPUC under the Urban Watershed Stewardship Grants. These include sidewalk landscaping, community gardens, and rainwater harvesting systems. SFPUC funded five Urban Watershed Stewardship projects totaling $200,000.
“We’re supporting the growing use of sustainable green technologies in our neighborhoods to wisely manage stormwater,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan H. Kelly Jr. “As we plan for the effects of climate change, these green stormwater strategies are a key part of our long-term upgrade to the city sewer system.”
This year, Community Challenge Grants partnered with the San Francisco Planning Department to provide resources to community groups, businesses, schools, and nonprofit organizations. The new Community Challenge Grants Market Octavia and the Eastern Neighborhoods Area Plans Pilot Program is geographically focused on projects that create green spaces, gathering places, gardens, mini-parks, public art, and other neighborhood amenities that enhance recreation and open space needs. Market Octavia and the Eastern Neighborhoods, are the focus of this pilot program. The Planning Department funded seven projects totaling $275,771.
“Greening San Francisco streets and creating public spaces for the community to enjoy are long-term investments in our neighborhoods for residents and visitors alike,” said Planning Director John Rahaim. “We are looking forward to working with the Community Challenge Grantees to help provide valuable resources that will continue to enhance neighborhood character and safety.”
For a list of award recipients, go to www.sfmayor.org/index.aspx?recordid=757&page=846