Local organizations awarded neighborhood enhancements grants from the SECC

Staff Writer

The South East Chicago Commission (SECC), today, announced eight winners for this year’s Neighborhood Enhancement Grants.

This year’s SECC grants were made possible due to a dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the Elizabeth Louise “Betty Lou” Smith Fund, and forged partnerships with the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (HPKCC), Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), and the Hyde Park Bank.

Recipients of the grants will create beautification projects.

A grant selection committee consisting of members from five neighborhoods (Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, Washington Park, and Woodlawn) that the SECC provides programming for evaluated over 20 applications for the Neighborhood Enhancement Grant.

“This is one of many ways the SECC and our partners commit to improving the quality of life in our five footprint neighborhoods, and we could not be more pleased with the response from the community,” Wendy Walker Williams, SECC Executive Director, said in a written statement. “We received 26 applications–up from 15 in 2016–for this year’s Neighborhood Enhancement Grant program, so there is clearly a need and enthusiasm for community beautification projects.”

The Bixler Park Advisory Council, 1372 E. 57th St., and the Midway Plaisance Advisory Council, 1130 Midway Plaisance, and the Brickyard Garden, 6115 S. Woodlawn Ave., are local recipients of the grants.

The Bixler Park Advisory Council will install two permanent chess tables in a vacant space south of the Bixler Playlot Park near 56th Street and South Kenwood Avenue.

The Midway Plaisance Advisory Council will plant 200 flower bulbs on the east and west side of the Metra train tracks between 59th and 60th streets to beautify the end of the Midway.

The Brickyard Garden will add a second raised garden bed for floral and vegetable gardening near 61st Street and Woodlawn Avenue to provide free produce to the surrounding community.

“With so many amazing projects, it was not an easy task to select the final slate,” Diane Burnham, senior program manager at the SECC, who directly manages the grant program and selection process said in a written statement. “The grant selection committee was truly inspired by the passion and dedication that all of the applicants bring to their communities. The impact and focus on long-term sustainable projects was prevalent in all of the proposals.”

Other awardees include the Friends of 51st Street (Washington Park), HelloBaby (Woodlawn), Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC) (Kenwood/Oakland), Urban Juncture (Washington Park), and the William Hill Garden/Gallery (Woodlawn).