Gary, Indiana Wins US Cities of Service “Love Your Block” Grant to Clean Up Neighborhoods

The city of Gary, Indiana is one of ten cities that has been awarded a $25,000 US Cities of Service grant to assist efforts to clean up neighborhoods. The “Love Your Block” grant is designed to assist local governments in engaging residents in neighborhood revitalization.

City officials said they plan to use the grant to assist block clubs with basic supplies for neighborhood cleanups and other projects. The two-year seed grant includes two years of technical assistance and two AmeriCorps VISTA members who will work at City Hall to increase community awareness and program support to help communities clean up and revitalize their neighborhoods. The grant is expected to supplement the city’s efforts to decrease blight across the city through its current programs, including its 5x5x5 clean ups, community clean ups and vacant lot and lawn maintenance.

“We are excited to receive the ‘Love Your Block’ grant from Cities of Service. This grant will enhance our efforts to engage our residents in community service and falls right in line with our goals to improve our neighborhoods block by block,” Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said.

The city also was awarded a $199,000 US Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant grant from the Purdue University Extension program to train residents about community gardens, urban agriculture, and food access.

Other grant recipients included South Bend, Indiana; Buffalo, New York; Hamilton, Ohio; Hartford, Connecticut; Huntington, West Virginia; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Newark, New Jersey; and Richmond, Virginia.

“A recent study from the Urban Institute has shown us that the impact of Love Your Block goes beyond cleaning up neighborhoods and creating more park space,” said Cities of Service executive director Myung J. Lee. “It is also bringing neighbors together and strengthening communities. We are excited to help our cities revitalize neighborhoods, keep people in their homes, and build trust between cities and their people as part of these efforts.”