The River Hills Homeowners Association was one of 19 local groups awarded mini grants from Hillsborough County. The group used the funds for a Fit-Trail in the community.

Could your neighborhood use a dog park or an exercise station? Nineteen local neighborhoods are able to fund projects designed to enhance and complement their communities this month thanks to Hillsborough County.

The Hillsborough County 2021 Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program recently awarded up to $5,000 in grant funding to help communities with specific projects, including the erection of bat houses and the installation of a floating fountain to improve algae control and increase the fish population in a pond.

The winning communities and neighborhood associations in Southeastern Hillsborough County are the Bloomingdale Neighborhood Association, which used the funds to improve communication and visibility through its social media and website; Lake St. Charles Community Development District; Nottingham Villas at Kings Point Homeowners Association; Osprey Landing of Ruskin Homeowners Association; Pavilion Property Owners Association; River Hills Homeowners Association; Sandhill Villas Homeowners Association, which used the money to purchase park umbrellas, canopies, folding tables, a park grill and a tiny library; Savannah Landings Homeowners Association; and Valencia Lakes Property Owners Association.

“These projects help bring neighbors together and foster community pride,” said media contact José Patiño.

The River Hills Homeowners Association was awarded a matching grant to build a 10-station Fit-Trail in the community.

According to River Hills resident Stefan Smith, the trail is a little over a mile and will be used by residents of River Hills and members of the River Hills Country Club.

“The equipment is all being installed by volunteer efforts,” said Smith. “We are also partnering with the River Hills Country Club as residents and members can also stop by the restaurant or traditional gym as part of their Fit-Trail experience.”

Smith explained that this was the first time he had applied for a grant.

“It has been very easy and the county does a great job with communication,” he said. “We ran through a Zoom call and then they worked the process through a shared drive to manage the documentation and paper trail.”

As part of the grant requirements, each grant recipient must provide a report and photos documenting the successful completion of their project.

The Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program is administered through the Customer Service & Support department’s Neighborhood Relations team. To learn more about the Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program and other neighborhood initiatives, visit HCFLGov.net/MiniGrant.

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Kate Quesada is the Multimedia Manager for the Osprey Observer Newspapers. She has been working for the paper in various positions since 2005 when she graduated with her Masters degree in mass communications. She lives in Valrico with her husband Mike and son Dylan.