Lake St. Charles Community Development District received a community improvement from Hillsborough County last year which they used to develop an app for their residents. Applications are being accepted until Friday, August 3 at 5 p.m. for this year’s grants.

Calling all HOA representatives. Could your neighborhood use some extra funds to hold a community celebration or buy some safety equipment? The Hillsborough County Office of Neighborhood Relations is now accepting applications for its popular mini-grant program and representatives could earn up to $5,000 to improve their community.

“Projects should be aimed at bringing neighbors together and boosting community pride,” said Hillsborough County Communications and Digital Media Specialist, Michelle Van Dyke. “Applicants are encouraged to be creative and original.”

According to Van Dyke, the mini-grants can be put towards a wide variety of projects, such as neighborhood celebrations, children’s programs, community gardens, signs and landscaping, crime watch programs, safety equipment, websites, newsletters and leadership training.

Neighborhood, civic, homeowners and crime watch associations in Hillsborough County that are registered with the Office of Neighborhood Relations are eligible to apply, including those in Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace. The program was established in 1988 by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and close to $100,000 was awarded through the grants in 2017.

Lake St. Charles Community Development District in Riverview received some of the grant money last year and used it to develop an app for residents and Valrico’s River Hills community spent it’s grant money from 2016 on bird houses for the Purple Martin Swallow and a nesting platform for Ospreys.

Applicants must attend an information session, either in person or online, before submitting their requests. A training session will take place on Monday, July 30 at 6 p.m. at the Bloomingdales Regional Public Library, located at 1906 Bloomingdales Ave. in Valrico. Participants can view a webinar online or listen in via phone on Wednesday, July 11 at 6 p.m.

According to Van Dyke, the training will review the application, grant criteria and projects that qualify for the mini-grants as well as answering questions about the program. A verification code received at the completion of the training must be included on the application in order for the proposal to be considered. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on Friday, August 3 and successful grant recipients in this year’s round will be notified by November 30.

To register for one of the training classes and for complete information about the process and requirements, and click on the ‘Neighborhood Grants’ link, or call the Office of Neighborhood Relations at 272-5860.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.