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City of Spokane offering grants for greening projects

Thu., July 24, 2014, midnight

27 neighborhoods vie for $75,000 from utility fee

The 27 Spokane neighborhood councils are invited come up with projects that will plant trees, shrubs and perennials, and submit them to a grant contest hosted by the Neighborhood Services Office.

Each project may cost up to $5,000 and there is a total of $75,000 available.

“Each neighborhood may submit three project proposals,” said Alicia Powell, project coordinator for the Forest Spokane initiative.

Powell said the grant is paid for by utility fees.

Proposed greening projects must be located on public property and it must include a watering source.

“Perhaps an adjacent property owner agrees to water a planting strip – anything like that,” Powell said, “but we’ve got to make sure the plants get watered.”

Planting strips and traffic islands are great locations for potential greening projects as long as they aren’t covered by pavement.

“We will not fund annual plants,” Powell said. “We are looking for projects that will stay around for many years.”

Only neighborhood councils may submit applications, Powell said, and the deadline is Aug. 29.

As soon as the applications are in, city staff will be begin reviewing them.

Projects are graded on several factors, including ease of maintenance and community involvement.

Powell said projects that are already underway are not qualified for this round of funding.

“And we will not approve projects that involve taking down or moving existing trees,” Powell said.

Between September and May, city staff will review all the applications, coordinate funding and permits as well as help the neighborhoods schedule volunteer planting days.

The Community Assembly – a body with representatives from all neighborhood councils – will then pick the three top projects and submit those to the mayor’s office.

Mayor David Condon will pick the top project and that neighborhood will receive another $5,000 for a similar greening project.

Powell said the application forms are available online.

“The focus of this project is trees,” Powell said. “We are looking forward to seeing what people come up with.”

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