Love Your Block Hartford

1. Who We Are

Love Your Block (LYB) is a program that brings together city leaders and citizens to revitalize neighborhoods one block at a time.  LYB Hartford partners with organizations, neighborhood groups, and residents.

2. What We Do

Love Your Block Hartford is a mini-grant program that supports residents who want to make a difference in their community by funding projects focused on combating litter, activating vacant lots, and strengthening neighborhood pride. Ideal locations are gateway areas with high visibility and high-impact.

3. Available Funding

Community groups or individuals are eligible to apply for up to $2,500 to fund volunteer-led projects that will revitalize and beautify their neighborhood. All project proposals within these parameters will be reviewed for approval.

4. Application Process

Details

The 2021 Application Period has now ended.  Applications were due May 12th.  Submitted applications are now under review.

Requirements

In order to qualify for the Love Your Block grant, each group needed to:

  • Propose a project within the boundaries of the city of Hartford.
  • Propose a project that highlight the uniqueness of the neighborhood.
  • Propose a project that is open to the public and beautify and/or increase safety in the neighborhood.
  • Recruit 10 or more volunteers; 50 percent must be residents from the neighborhood.
  • Propose a budget that does not exceed $2,500.
  • Be willing to collect and document project data, photos and results.
  • Have at least two identified project leaders.

5. Year One Projects

In Year One, Love Your Block Hartford funded five community revitalization projects in the Frog Hollow Neighborhood. Learn more about each project below, you can also take a look at the lookbook summarizing each project.

The Art Box Lot

Project: Vacant Lot Beautification

Project Leads: Raul Irizarry and Jose Figueroa

Outputs: 200 square foot mural created, 120 pounds of trash removed, 51 volunteers

Partners: Youth Compass Collaborative, Real Art Ways, Grow Hartford Youth, Inter-Community Resource, Betances Elementary School, Hartford Public Library Park Branch

Grant: $976.50

Leveraged: $390 cash donations and $330 in-kind donations

Outcome: The Art Box Lot at 769 Park St is a temporary lot beautification project that succeeded in creating a space for passive recreation and community events. Events in the space allowed for residents to strengthen connections and increase neighborhood pride.

Love Your Block Project The ArtBox Lot Lead Raul Irrizary    


SAFEPlay Wolcott St

Project: Community Playground

Project Leads: Delene Falcon and Logan Singerman

Outputs: TBA

Partners: Frog Hollow SAFE, SINA, and Hartford Youth Service Corps

Grant: $1,000

Leveraged: TBA

Outcome: Frog Hollow SAFE plans to build a playground at 10 Wolcott St using brightly painted recycled tires and wood. Their goal is to create a safe and fun environment for neighborhood kids and families to come together and transform a vacant lot into a utilized space. After some unforeseen delays, construction of the playground will begin in Spring 2020.

 

Love Your Block Project Leads Logan and Delene


In The City for Good

Project: Community Benches

Project Leads: Naomi Ngoma and Louisa Barton Duguay

Outputs: 5 benches designed and painted by 30 volunteers

Partners: Emanuel Lutheran Church, Grace Lutheran Church

Grant: $1,000

Leveraged: $420 Additional Grant

Outcome: Emanuel Lutheran Church purchased 5 pallet benches with each designed by local artists with input from residents. The project allowed church members and residents to come together and make connections through painting the benches and helped to beautify the neighborhood and provide more places to sit. The benches are located along Park Street.

 

Love Your Block In the City for Good Project LeadsLouisa and Naomi


Grand Street Garden

Project: Community Garden

Project Leads: Jameelah Muhammad and Rasheed Ali

Outputs: 10 pounds of trash removed, 15 volunteers

Partners: Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford, Charter Oak Health Center, Inter-religious Eco Justice Network, and KNOX

Grant: $950 Leveraged; $810 In-Kind donations

Outcome: Volunteers made improvements to the community garden at 31 Grand St. The project allowed for growing more food in the garden as well as engaging and educating the community. They were also able to leverage this funding and apply for additional larger grants to do additional site improvements and expand garden activities.

   

Love Your Block Project Lead for the Grand Street Community Garden Jameelah Muhammad


Wolcott St. Mural 

 

Project: Community Mural

Project Leads: Delene Falcon & Logan Singerman

Outputs: 224 Square Foot Mural Created

Partners: Frog Hollow SAFE, SINA

Grant: $1,000

Leveraged: $1,176 Cash Donations

Outcome: Frog Hollow SAFE worked with local artist Lindaluz Carrillo to install a mural at 10 Wolcott St. The mural brought together many residents of Wolcott St. who gave input on the design and helped to paint the mural. The project allowed for bonds created between residents and beatification of the street.

 
LYB Wolcott St Mural

 

6. Year Two Projects

In Year Two, Love Your Block Hartford funded fourteen community revitalization projects across the City of Hartford. Thanks to additional funding from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, we supported a sixteenth project! Learn more about each project below, you can also take a look at the lookbook summarizing each project.

 LoveYourBlock_Maps_BrokenDown_CallOuts01.jpg LoveYourBlock_Maps_BrokenDown_CallOuts02.jpg   LoveYourBlock_Maps_BrokenDown_CallOuts03.jpg    LoveYourBlock_Maps_BrokenDown_CallOuts04.jpg

CARA Cares: Clean it Up, Keep it Up!

Project: Beautification and Environmental Safety

Project Leads: Chairperson Bea Powell & Secretary Denyse Bailey, Clay Arsenal NRZ

Grant: $1,000

Summary: CARA Cares: Clean It Up, Keep It Up! is a beautification and environmental safety project focused on the intersection of Pliny and Brook street. The main objective of this project is to beautify the lot, reduce rubbish, honor neighborhood pioneers, and bring pride to this section of the neighborhood through a neighborhood clean-up, the installation of trash containers and shrubs around the vacant lot, and the placement of a steel bench on the property in commemoration of individuals who have contributed greatly to the enhancing the community. 

   
CARA Cares Project photo
 

The Labyrinth at Sterling Street

Project: Beautification and Placemaking

Project Leads: Kamora Herrington & Lauren Little, and Ira Revels - Kamora’s Cultural Corner

Grant: $1,000

Funds Leveraged: $9,418 in donations and matching funds

Summary: The Labyrinth at Sterling Street is a multi-phase beautification and project that will create a neighborhood community space and labyrinth which will be “a physical space that represents the metaphorical thought patterns and illustrates the complexity” of truly creating community. The project will include an herb and greens garden and will be accessible to everyone in the neighborhood and beyond.

 
The Labryinth on Sterling St.
 

Love My B.L.O.C

Project: Beautification, tactical urbanism, and environmental safety

Project Leads: Kelvin X. LoveJoy & Reneesha Baugh, BHCA

Grant: $1,000

Summary: Love My B.L.O.C is a beautification, tactical urbanism, and environmental safety project that seeks to beautify empty lots around Barbour and Nelson street. The goals are this project are to engage residents through community clean-ups, vacant lot development, installation of an art project and the development of a resident B.L.O.C (Building Leaders and Organizing Community) Association.

 
Love My BLOC
 

Asylum Hill Pollinator Gardens

Project: Tactical urbanism project

Project Leads: Lynn Johnson & David MacDonald, Asylum Hill NRZ

Grant: $1,000

Leveraged: $3,700 in donations and matching funds

Summary: The Asylum Hill Pollinator Gardens is a tactical urbanism project that will install six small pollinator gardens across Asylum Hill. The locations include ICC, AHCC, Grace Lutheran, Trinity, Youth Challenge CT, and St. Joseph’s Cathedral. The objective of this project is to support pollinators, beautify the neighborhood, increase neighborhood pride, and support community vegetable gardens. The target audience for this project are residents and gardeners, and the pollinators, of course!

 
Asylum Hill Pollinator Project
 

CBAC Revealing Gem

Project: Beautification and Safety Improvement

Project Leads: Janine McMahon & Caroline Austin, Asylum Hill Family Center

Grant: $1,000

Summary: CBAC Revealing Gem is a beautification project focused on improving the accessibility and family-friendly nature of the space at 896 Asylum Avenue. Project Leads will work with volunteers to install planters provided by KNOX and placing two benches decorated by children at the front of the building. The project has gained support from the NRZ, the Hartford Family Center Network, and families in the area.

 
CBAC Revealing Gem Project
 

The Farmington Avenue Mural Project

Project: Beautification

Project Leads: Louisa Barton-Duguay & David MacDonald, Asylum Hill NRZ

Grant: $1,000

Leveraged Funds: $1,470 in donations

Summary: The Farmington Avenue Mural Project is a beautification project that will create a large-scale mural on the side of building located at 294 Farmington Avenue. The goal of this project is to beautify a highly visible and trafficked area and to increase neighborhood pride. 

 
Farmington Ave. Mural
 

The Broad Street Art Garden

Project: Tactical urbanism, beautification, and environmental

Project Title: The Broad Street Art Garden

Project Leads: Logan Singerman & Delene Falcon, Frog Hollow SAFE

Grant: $1,000

Leveraged Funds: $4,292 in donations and matching funds

Summary: The Broad Street Art Garden is a tactical urbanism, beautification, and environmental safety project that aims to convert an “L”-shaped vacant lot at 1064 Broad Street into a green space featuring an art garden, a community garden, and an open play space. The target audience for this project are families and kids in the neighborhood, and all residents in the surrounding area. Overall, the project aims to decrease illegal dumping, decrease crime in the area, improve access to fresh produce, increase the physical activity opportunities for children, and strengthen neighborhood pride. The Project Leads are working with the Raftery, Keney Park Sustainability Project, and residents to develop and maintain this area.

 

 
 

 

 

The Affleck Street Community Garden

Project: Tactical urbanism

Project Title: The Affleck Street Community Garden

Project Leads: Graciela Rivera & Carey Shea, Affleck Street Community Garden

Grant: $962.81

Summary: The Affleck Street Community Garden is a tactical urbanism project focused on enhancing the existing community garden located at 158 Affleck Street in a range of ways. The project will increase the number of raised beds, rehabilitate deteriorated garden beds, purchase tools for gardening, plant pollinator attracting perennials, and introduce artwork into the space. The goals of this project are to make the space more accessible to seniors and residents with different mobilities, increase neighborhood pride, promote gardening, decrease rubbish, and foster long-lasting community engagement. The Garden will work with KNOX to facilitate the project as well as the Hartford Public Library and the Hispanic Health Council. The team is in the process of partnering with Foodshare so that they can grow and donate produce to their community garden food growing initiative! 

 
The Affleck Street Community Garden
 

Outdoor Seating on Capitol

Project: Tactical urbanism and placemaking

Project Leads: Sarah McCoy and Chantell Boissiere-Kelly, Story & Soil Coffee and Hartford Ice Cream

Grant: $1,000

Funds Leveraged: $5,725 in donations and matching funds

Summary: Outdoor Seating on Capitol is a tactical urbanism project that aims to provide socially distant seating for the patrons of eight local businesses along the southside of Capitol Avenue. The target audience of this project is small groups who have made the block a destination or those who live in the neighborhood and wish to gather safely. The goal of this project is to increase neighborhood visibility, support local businesses and enhance block beautification and unification. 

 
Outdoor Seating on Capitol
 

Zion Hill Gateway Project

Project: Tactical urbanism, beautification and environmental safety

Project Leads: Carey Shea & Susan Jaafar, Friends of Zion Hill Cemetery

Grant: $1,000

Funds Leveraged: $3,001 in donations and matching funds

Summary: The Zion Hill Gateway Project is a tactical urbanism, beautification and environmental safety project that will focus on enhancing and increasing the accessibility of the Zion Hill Cemetery entrance at the corner of Ward and Zion. The project will begin with a volunteer led-clean up and walking tour in partnership with SINA, followed by a walk/bike audit in mid-July with Transport Hartford. Volunteers will also help prepare planting beds and plant perennials and low groundcovers in the beds near the entrance. Come fall, volunteers will work with DPW and the City Forester to install shade trees and benches.

 
Zion Hill Gateway Project
 

Beautify Barry Square

Project: Beautification

Project Leads: Chairperson Hyacinth Yennie & Bill Ericson, MARG

Grant: $1,000

Summary: Beauty Barry Square is a beautification project designed to bring life and color to the Barry Square Triangle and the surrounding area through flowers. The focus of this project is at The Triangle near the Church, post office, and gas station. This project will place large flowerpots with a variety of plants and flowers provided by KNOX throughout the neighborhood and at the highlighted intersection.

 
Beautify Barry Square
 

Community Roots of Love

Project Leads: Edna Velazquez & Pedro Pimienta, El Centro Family Center – Catholic Charities

Grant: $1,000 (made possible by HFPG)

Summary: Community Roots of Love is a beautification, tactical urbanism, and environmental safety project that seeks to create a safe and welcoming area for all families to make connections throughout the South Green neighborhood. The project will kick-off with a community clean-up of both Cedar Street and Wadsworth street. Located at 45 Wadsworth street, this project will be composed of planters for vegetables and flowers, a walking path created by decorative rocks, and a seating area outfitted with picnic tables to be used in the spring, summer, and fall. The target audience for this project are the families, elderly and children living in the area

 
Community Roots of Love
 

Read & Feed

Project: Tactical urbanism

Project Leads: Zoe Chatfield & Rich Hollant, FREE CENTER

Grant: $1,000

Leveraged Funding: $4,265

Summary: Read & Feed is a tactical urbanism project focused on engaging with neighborhood residents to connect more and instill pride. Located at 460 New Britain Ave (former location of the Goodwin Library, current location of the Free Center), the Project Leads will install two newspaper boxes, one will be an ode to the location’s former purpose, a small lending library, and the other a free pantry. The newspaper boxes will be decorated by a local artist and will be accessible to the general public. The Free Center will host a ‘Read’ drive and a ‘Feed’ drive to support filling both boxes with items for the community. 

 
Read & Feed at Free Center
 

Sheldon Oak Transformation: Project Porter

Project: Beautification

Project Leads: Elsa Koulla & Christina Smith, Southside Parent Leader Group

Grant: $400

Summary: The Sheldon Oak Transformation: Project Porter is a beautification project that seeks to beautify an existing parkette, Porter Park, at the corner of Groton and Wyllys Street. The goal of this project is to increase neighborhood pride and to create a safe place for children and families to spend time together by engaging residents through a community clean-up, adding trash and recycling bins, and beautifying benches. The target audience for this project are families and their children who live in the neighborhood.

 
Sheldon Oak Transformation: Project Porter
 

SWBTR Beautification Project

Project: Beautification

Project Leads: Chairperson Kathy Evans & Joyce Bosco, SWBTR NRZ

Grant: $1,000

Summary: The SWBTR Beautification Project is a beautification project at the corner of Flatbush & Brookfield and the South Park River walking trail. It intends to install several planters provided by KNOX with several varieties of flowers in the project area. The project will kick-off with an annual clean-up led by the NRZ along the South Park River walkway and intersection.  The target audience for this project are residents and community members who also shop in the area. 
   
SWBTR Beautification Project

7. History of Love Your Block

Hartford was one of ten cities chosen by Cities of Service to receive $25,000 in funding over two years (2019-2020) and two AmeriCorps VISTAs. Love Your Block Hartford's was designed to increase neighborhood pride by creating opportunities for residents to own and lead change in their community. We will achieve this by providing competitive mini-grants that support volunteer-led anti-litter projects.

Cities of Service is a former nonprofit and current research center at Johns Hopkins University that helps mayors build stronger cities by changing the way local government and citizens work together.  Cities of Service helps their coalition cities tap into citizen insights, skills, and service to identify and solve critical public problems. Founded in 2009 by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cities of Service supports a coalition of more than 250 cities, representing more than 73 million people across the Americas and Europe. Since 2009, over 9,000 community members across dozens of cities have revitalized more than 2,200 blocks. They have removed 5.6 million pounds of trash, created 900 art displays, cleaned 60,000 square feet of graffiti, repaired over 70,000 square feet of community space, and maintained over 730,000 square feet of public space. Visit us at citiesofservice.org or follow us on Twitter @citiesofservice.

AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members bring passion and perseverance where the need is greatest: to organizations that help eradicate poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve as a catalyst for change, living and working alongside community members to meet our nation’s most pressing challenges and advance local solutions.

8. Frequently Asked Questions

What is Love Your Block?

Love Your Block brings mayors together with citizens to revitalize their neighborhoods, one block at a time. Since 2009, Cities of Service has helped dozens of cities implement Love Your Block. More than 9,000 community members have revitalized more than 2,200 blocks, including removing 6.5 million pounds of trash, creating 900 art displays, cleaning 60,000 square feet of graffiti, repairing over 70,000 square feet of community space, and maintaining over 730,000 square feet of public space.

For its 2018 City Hall AmeriCorps VISTA Love Your Block program, Cities of Service awarded each winning city $25,000 to be used for mini-grants and resources to support the efforts of citizen groups and local nonprofits to fight property blight through home repairs, lot transformations, and community cleanups. In addition, two AmeriCorps VISTA members serve in each winning city’s city hall to build capacity and raise awareness. 

Visit the Hartford LYB Cities of Service page—and more—here.

What is a LYB mini-grant?

A LYB mini-grant is funding of up to $1000 intended to support volunteer-led project for beautification efforts in Hartford's neighborhoods.

What if I need assistance filling out the application?

If you require assistance, you can choose to attend one of our application workshops or, if you are unable to make one of these sessions, please contact the program administrators using this email address: loveyourblock@hartford.gov. Provide your name, and that of your Co-lead, as well as 3 dates and times that you are available to meet for a consultation. 

Do I have to be a resident in order to apply?

No. However, 50% of your project volunteers must be residents of the neighborhood in which your project is taking place.

Do I have to apply with a Community Group or Non-profit?

No, you may apply independent of a community group or nonprofit.  However, project must have a Co-lead as a contact for LYB administrators.

What are some examples of gateway locations?

Gateway locations in Hartford are sites that have a high frequency of car, bus, bike, and pedestrian traffic from both residents and visitors to the city. These places can be, for example, the entrance/exit of your neighborhood, or maybe a larger intersection inside your area. Some examples in Hartford can be found here, but we strongly encourage you to suggest your own locations as well. 

How will Awardees be notified?

Using the contact information that is provided, LYB will send email notifications to Project Leads of selected proposals. Selected applicants will be invited to accept the LYB mini-grant offer, and agree to adherence of LYB requirements during project implementation. If LYB does not receive confirmation within 7 days after the initial acceptance email date, a runner-up will be selected.

What is the Orientation?
  • Meeting face to face with other Awardees

  • Reviewing the project implementation area

  • Going over how to collect impacts/metrics

  • Reviewing important deadlines throughout project implementation

  • Opportunity to ask for any future assistance

  • Establish check-in dates for project implementation

What is a Final Project Report?

The Final Project Report is an electronic report of metrics and impacts to the community from the project. The specifics of the Final Project Report and what must be included will be determined with each Awardee.

 The Final Report could include:

  • a detailed account of the use of funds through the mini-grant
  • before and after photos
  • estimated bags of trash collected
  • number of volunteers involved in project implementation