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Grant to build community ties

The city is putting dollars into a program designed to bring neighbourhoods together.

The city is putting dollars into a program designed to bring neighbourhoods together.

The city announced this week that they are accepting applications for a matching grant program that would give community groups, or even just a collection of neighbours, up to $10,000 for improvement in their neighbourhood.

The project is part of the community development program the city has been working on with help from a provincial safe communities initiative grant.

Connie Smigielski with St. Albert Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) said the idea of the grant program is to support projects and ideas that would help neighbours get to know each other.

“We know through statistics that if you know who your neighbours are you will watch out for one another and you will have less crime and social disorder in your neighbourhood.”

Smigielski said the city is imaging community gardens or neighbourhood entrance signs as projects that could help neighbours get to know each other.

She said the city is open to any proposals.

“It could be just about anything, I hate to put limits on it,” she said. “Just as long as the majority are coming together and getting to know one another and becoming connected to one another.”

In total the city has $40,000 in the fund over the next two years.

The groups are required to match the city’s contribution for the projects, but they don’t actually have to match it with a cash contribution of their own. The city will count donated materials or services and even volunteer labour as part of the community’s matching contribution.

Smigielski said the city has approached some community groups about the proposal, but so far no applications have come forward.

Any of the proposed projects on city-owned green space will have to be approved by the neighbourhood, which is one of the things the city will be looking at during the application process.

Tim Osborne, who sits on the board of the Heritage Lakes Community Association said, while his group doesn’t have any specific proposal for the money, at first blush it looks like a great program.

“Anything to bring neighbours together is great.”

He said his association has received a lot of great support from the city over the years and this is just another example.

Osborne added many of the projects and events the community association has already taken on would have been helped with the grant funding.

“There is a lot of time and effort that has gone in to our events.”

Any community group interested in applying for the grant can find more information at or they can call FCSS at 780-459-1756.

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