For residents, neighborhood blight brings down property value and is an eyesore in general. Many people most likely feel like they have no way to get rid of it, until now. The city of Duluth has established a new program called "Love Your Block" with a $100,000 grant. The two-year program will be staffed by two different coordinators at an annual cost of $30,000 leaving $40,000 to be used in the form of mini-grants of up to $1,500 apiece to be spent in Duluth’s Lincoln Park and Central Hillside neighborhoods.

Duluth Deputy Chief of Life Safety Jon Otis said these parts of Duluth were chosen because of numerous complaints about blight and public dumping. He went on to explain that this program is meant to empower residents and make their neighborhoods a nicer place to live.

Otis said to the Duluth News Tribune (Paywall) "The residents often know their neighborhoods better than the city does, and this program gives them the power to deal with some of these issues so that it doesn’t fall on the city to then respond. Unaddressed problems often result in complaints."

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These small grants offered through the program could be used for a multitude of projects like disposal costs for neighborhood cleanup, painting over graffiti, supplies to clear an overgrown lot, and more. It just must be used to eliminate the blight of some sort.

This grant will be closely monitored to see if it is successful and if so the city may want to continue the program. Otis went on to say:

But what I’m most excited about here is the volunteer initiative and the neighbor-led, the citizen engagement component. We can think we know what the community needs, but until the community tells us what they need and turns that into action, it’s just words.

 

Beginning in May, the city will begin to accept applications for mini-grants to address blight in Duluth's Lincoln Park and Central Hillside neighborhoods at duluthmn.gov/love-your-block/love-your-block-mini-grants.

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