LANCASTER – The City of Lancaster is now accepting applications for the fourth annual Uniting Neighbors in a Team Effort (UNITE) Lancaster program. The program, which aims to assist in building safer and stronger neighborhoods, offers residents an opportunity to propose neighborhood improvement projects and compete for the resources and funding needed to make those projects a reality.
“Through resident-initiated programs such as UNITE, the City has the ability to partner with individual citizens and local organizations which have a vision to improve their communities,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. “You, as local residents, are the ones who best know the needs of your own neighborhoods. This is an opportunity for you to launch a program or spearhead a project which will make a lasting impact on your community. In the famous words of Mahatma Gandhi, you must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
This year’s UNITE program will adopt a targeted approach in an effort to increase the impact of the program on a specific area.
Projects taking place within the Mariposa and Desert View neighborhoods, which encompass the area from Avenue H to Avenue I and 20th Street West to Sierra Hwy, will be given preference.
However, the program is open to all neighborhoods within the limits of the City of Lancaster. Those with outstanding project ideas for areas outside of the Mariposa and Desert View neighborhoods are also encouraged to apply.
Projects may be submitted in any of the following categories:
- Community strengthening (including mentorship programs, youth programs, and cultural programs), public safety (such as traffic issues, lighting, and defensible spaces).
- Beautification (such as façade improvements, green spaces, and murals).
“If you have plans for a project which will make your neighborhood more beautiful, safe or unified, we want to hear from you,” said Steven Derryberry, Chairman of the Lancaster Neighborhood Vitalization Commission (LNVC), which oversees the program. “We encourage creativity. In past years, the UNITE Program has incorporated projects which range from the very practical—such as neighborhood landscaping, repainting of curb numbers, and a program targeting childhood obesity—to quite unique, such as a children’s chess tournament, painting of garden-pavers with an anti-bullying theme, and a neighborhood BBQ with a ‘bicycle rodeo’ promoting bicycle safety.”
Project applications will be judged based on six criteria:
- Neighborhood involvement
- Community benefit
- Partnership building
Projects located within the Mariposa and Desert View neighborhoods will be assigned additional points during the judging process. Applicants are encouraged to attend the pre-application information sessions. These sessions will provide an overview of the program and equip applicants with the tools they need to write a strong application.
These sessions will take place on Wednesday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 1 at 9 a.m. Both meetings will be held at Lancaster City Hall Council Chambers (44933 N. Fern Ave). Attendance is not mandatory to apply.
Applications for the UNITE program are available on the City’s website at www.cityoflancasterca.org/unite.
All applications must be received by 5 p.m., Friday, June 14, 2013 (postmark dates will not be accepted).
Projects selected to receive resources and funding will be announced at the LNVC meeting on August 6. All UNITE projects will take place on Saturday, September 21. For more information regarding the UNITE program, visit www.cityoflancasterca.org/unite, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 661-723-6072.
(Information via press release from the City of Lancaster.)