PBC Neighborhood Partnership Grant Program
Grant program offers hope for struggling Palm Beach County
By Stella M. Chßvez
WEST BOCA + The Rev. Chris Stultz looks around Watergate Mobile Home
Park and sees contradiction.
There is community pride, people who want to
make their everyday lives better by being good neighbors.
But there is
another side. The absentee landlords. The drug dealers. Children with little or
no supervision. Domestic violence. Homes in disrepair.
During his more
than three years at Calvary Chapel in this neighborhood west of Boca Raton,
Stultz has seen and heard it all.
"Many people here are so depressed that
they don't care anymore," Stultz said.
The bad side of Watergate is
taking its toll. But Stultz is looking at a new countywide grant program as a
tool to help turn things around.
He is just one of several community
leaders around the county applying for the Palm Beach County Neighborhood
Partnership Grant Program. It's a new initiative created by county commissioners
to provide matching money for communities that want to revitalize their
neighborhoods. A neighborhood's 50 percent share to pay for improvements is 10
percent cash and 40 percent sweat equity.
The program was developed by
the Countywide Community Revitalization
Team, a group that assesses the needs of
blighted areas in unincorporated Palm Beach County and lobbies county and state
groups for improvement money.
So far, the team has pointed to 31 areas
that are eligible to receive aid, said Ruth Moguillansky, coordinator of the
team. These are areas that lack infrastructure such as water lines, sewer
service and paved roads. They may have code enforcement problems, criminal
activity or few social services.
County commissioners have allocated up
to $100,000 for the program, and communities can apply for grants up to
Who gets money and how much depends on the number of
applications received and the amount requested, Moguillansky said. The deadline
for applications is June 15.
"The main goal is to stimulate the residents
to work together," Moguillansky said. "It's a small program that would serve as
a seed where the community can see small successes and create a feeling of
While $20,000 may not solve all of a neighborhood's
problems, Stultz said it can help get residents excited about revitalizing their
community. He said he wants people to take pride in their community, but he also
wants them to have a spiritual base. Often, he walks or drives around the
community talking to residents and inviting them to his church.
particular program, Stultz plans to organize several community meetings so he
can get residents' input about what they'd like to see happen.
program sounds appealing, said Tracy Hall, who is raising three children inside
a dilapidated mobile home.
"I'd like to see people's houses get fixed for
people who don't have money," she said.
Hall doesn't have a job because
of a medical condition that causes the glands in her arms to swell. As a result,
she can't afford to repair her home, which has cracked walls, loose doorknobs
and other problems.
Other neighborhoods in South County eligible for
grants are San Castle near Boynton Beach, Tradewinds Estates near Delray Beach
and the Dunes Road/Barwick Road area outside Delray Beach.
Richard-Allerdyce, co-founder of the proposed Toussaint L'Ouverture Arts for
Social Justice High School in Delray Beach, said she and other community leaders
are considering applying for the grant "to promote civic outreach."
see it as an ideal collaboration [between residents and the county]," she
Richard-Allerdyce said she did not yet know specifically what the
money would be used for because she recently learned about the
For Stultz, the program has brought new hope to his community.
"Even in the midst of all of this trouble, there are people who believe in what
we're trying to do and want to come together."For information on the
grant program, call Ruth Moguillansky at 561-233-5376.
Stella M. Chßvez
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-243-6602.
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