Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Urban beautification project seeks $50K, your votes

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful (KCB) is seeking your votes for a public art program that they say will lower crime and spur investment in Cincinnati's urban neighborhoods.

The group is in the running for a $50,000 neighborhood grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project for Future Blooms, a community beautification program aimed at dressing up vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed properties in Cincinnati by painting representations of doors, windows, awnings and flower boxes onto the buildings' barricades.

An outgrowth of Cincinnati's Neighborhood Enhancement Program, KCB has painted over 250 buildings since the program launched in late 2009. In October 2010, the program expanded into vacant lot stabilization, planting grass and trees, cleaning and maintaining more than 30 abandoned inner-city parcels.

In Over-the-Rhine alone, the group estimates that blight has fallen by more than 25 percent.

Prior funding for the project had come from the now-defunct Cincinnati Empowerment Corporation. The Pepsi grant, which would fund paint and supplies, landscaping, signage, and rent and utilities, would allow KCB to complete another 150 buildings and improve an additional 60 vacant lots.

Voting ends on January 31, with the top ten applications for the $50,000 grant being funded. As of publication, Future Blooms was not ranked within the top 50 projects.

Rules are available on the project website.

Started in March 2010, the Pepsi Refresh Project aims to give away $1.3 million per month to community projects throughout the country. Only 1,000 submissions are accepted per month.

A YouTube video outlining the Future Blooms program can be seen here.

Previous reading on BC:
Covington's newest pocket park features tributes to artist Farny (7/1/09)
City calls Westwood NEP a success (8/28/08)
Great American Cleanup in Northside (5/13/08)
A City-wide bridge beautification effort? (4/29/08)
CUF enhancement begins today (2/1/08)