2012 UNITE Lancaster Program to be launched Thursday

Wyatt Coleman of Lancaster shakes hands with Mayor R. Rex Parris at the Elm Avenue Community Garden

Wyatt Coleman shakes hands with Mayor R. Rex Parris at the Elm Avenue Community Garden, one of six different community-building service projects launched as part of the 2011 UNITE Lancaster program.

LANCASTER – The City’s Lancaster Neighborhood Vitalization Commission will launch the third annual Uniting Neighbors in a Team Effort (UNITE) Lancaster program with an applicant information session at the El Dorado Town Hall meeting on Thursday, May 24.

The UNITE program provides residents with a forum to propose neighborhood improvement projects and compete for the resources and funding needed to bring these projects to fruition.

“The purpose of the UNITE Lancaster program is to empower residents to be the change they wish to see in our community,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. “Through UNITE, residents have the opportunity to propose projects they believe will enhance the quality of life in their neighborhood.”

The 2012 program will adopt a targeted approach. All of this year’s UNITE projects will be located in the El Dorado neighborhood, which encompasses the area from Avenue J to Lancaster Boulevard and from Division Street to Challenger Way.

“While UNITE has yielded a number of excellent community service projects throughout the City, we plan to concentrate our efforts this year in order to make an even greater impact in a specific area,” said Lancaster Neighborhood Vitalization Commissioner Angela Hearns. “In addition, this strategic approach will assist us in accomplishing the program’s goal of strengthening the bonds between neighbors by offering El Dorado residents a forum to meet one another and work side-by-side to carry out service projects that will improve their community.”

Hearns and members of the City staff Safer Stronger Neighborhoods Committee will provide an overview of the program and walk prospective applicants through the application process at the Town Hall meeting.

While all UNITE projects must take place in the El Dorado neighborhood, any local resident or community organization may propose projects and participate in the program. There are three project categories:

Beautification projects to enhance the aesthetics of the neighborhood, such as façade improvements, murals, and community gardens;

Neighborhood interaction projects to foster and strengthen relationships between neighbors, such as mentoring programs and block parties; and

Public safety projects, such as lighting and traffic-related issues.

“We encourage applicants to be creative with their project proposals,” said Parris. “This is your opportunity to share your ideas regarding what would help build a stronger sense of community and improve your neighborhood. The sky is the limit.”

Proposed projects will be evaluated based on six criteria, which include self-reliance, neighborhood involvement, sustainability, community benefit, partnership building and innovation. Projects which best meet these criteria will be awarded the resources and funding needed to accomplish them.

The Town Hall Meeting will take place from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m., Thursday, May 24 at El Dorado Elementary School, located at 361 East Pondera Street. All residents interested in participating in the UNITE Program are encouraged to attend. Children’s activities will be provided to allow parents to attend the meeting.

For further information regarding the UNITE Program, e-mail unite@cityoflancasterca.org, visit www.saferstrongerneighborhoods.org, or call (661) 723-6072.

(Information via press release from the City of Lancaster.)

  2 comments for “2012 UNITE Lancaster Program to be launched Thursday

  1. S. Parker
    May 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    I think limiting the projects to one neighborhood is a BAD idea. There are plenty other neighborhoods in Lancaster that could use some TLC. Is this a really blighted area or something? If so, then will the residents respect the improvements or will it end up right back to how it was in a couple of months?
    I don’t think the City should favor one neighborhood over another. I say expand the community service projects to all of Lancaster.

    • ed
      May 21, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      As most of you know I have not been a cheer leader for Rex, However in this instence he is right. A project like this has to start somewhere, and he has left the door open for others to submit proposals for their neighborhoods. If Lancaster had council district representatives it would be simple.

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