Neighborhood improvement model mobile workshop

From decorative neighborhood markers to community gardens, the City of Charlotte and residents take pride in their neighborhoods and it shows. The partnership and relationship the city creates with neighborhoods is an integral part of building stronger communities. During the NLC City Summit, attend “Hand in Hand Together: Charlotte’s creative neighborhood improvement model” to see examples of various projects that were funded through the City of Charlotte’s Neighborhood Matching Grant Program.

The city deploys financial equity, while the community offers sweat-equity

The grants provide financial assistance for anything that will offer a communal value in the neighborhood. The city works with the community to determine the needs, looks for resources and makes a connection to enhance everyone’s quality of life. Some examples include gardens, park improvements, recreational trails, bike racks, decorative street lights, speed humps, wall murals, sculptures and signal box wraps. They can also ask for assistance for things that will help their neighborhood branding and development like neighborhood signs.

It’s important to note that these are matching grants. Neighborhoods have to put in at least 50 percent volunteer hours or additional funding. While it starts as a project, the end goal is engagement. By having communities put in their own sweat equity, they get to meet their neighbors and work directly with city staff. After the projects, the community becomes stronger because they learned to work together. And in the process, people learn skillsets like grant writing which can give them experience to use in their jobs.

NoDa: Matheson bridge mural

Explore the success of the city-community partnership

On this tour, you will explore multiple examples of communities who benefited from the Neighborhood Matching Grants Program. Here’s some of the stops on the tour:

  • Plaza Midwood: bike racks, bike repair station, Can Do Signs, neighborhood signs
  • Belmont: identity and marketing, beatification, programming, Better Block project
  • Villa Heights: Cordelia Park public art, Villa Heights community garden and signage, Cordelia Park Greenway benches
  • Optimist Park: community entrance ID signs
  • NoDa: Matheson bridge mural, Davidson Street bridge railings
  • Druid Hills: community garden and adult fit park
  • Brightwalk: neighborhood wayfinding signs
  • McCrorey Heights: mosaic mural at Oaklawn Language Academy

Instead of saying “No”, this project asks the community what it wants to do, then places signs that give users of public space amusing, enchanting, and fun options. You can dance! You can sing! You can skip! You can hold hands!

When you join this bus tour, you’ll get access to the model program for neighborhood grants in the United States. The City of Charlotte’s program is innovative—working with a smaller budget than other municipalities, but able to implement more projects with less money.

 “It’s rare for governments and neighborhoods to partner financially,” says City of Charlotte Neighborhood & Community Partnerships Manager, Nicole Storey. She adds “With applicants receiving up to $25,000 for a project, the city is able to create significant change in a community.”

We hope to see you on the tour to visit the heart of our city, our neighborhoods!