Nine Community Beautification Projects Awarded 2018 Neighborhood Enhancement Grants


Herald Intern


The South East Chicago Commission (SECC), has, announced nine Community Beautification Projects awarded the 2018 Neighborhood Enhancement Grants.

The grant selection committee selected the following community organizations for their community beautification project proposals:

  • 41st & Ellis Block Club- Together We Grown Garden
  • Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park– Welcoming Western Entrance Beautification Plan 5500 S. Woodlawn Ave.

Chicago Eco House– Peach Tree Park

6439 S. Peoria St.

  • Chicago Public Arts Group (CPAG)– Childhood Is Without Prejudice Mural Restoration 600 W. Cermak Rd.
  • The Kleo Center– Kleo Barrett Memorial Mural Project, 119 E. Garfield Blvd.
  • Midway Plaisance Advisory Council – Hillside Beautification Project
  • Nichols Park Advisory Council– 55th Street Fountain & Floral Bed Enhancement
  • Oakland Cultural Alliance– Oakland Museum and Garden Preservation. 4116 S. Lake Park Ave.
  • Friends of Ray School-Native Plants & Tree Project

The Friends of Ray School-Native Plants & Tree Project has been selected for a special project award in Memory of Stephen J. Albert, the former Executive Director of the Court Theater.

More information about each project can be found online at

To fund the grants, the SECC partnered with the Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference (HPKCC), the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), and the Hyde Park Bank, a Wintrust Bank. The SECC also received a special dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the Elizabeth Louise “Betty Lou” Smith Fund.

The grant selection committee was composed of two SECC board members and 10 volunteer community representatives from the five neighborhoods where the SECC works: Hyde Park, Woodlawn, Oakland, Washington Park, and Kenwood. The committee selected projects “for the strength of their proposals and breadth of potential impact,” the SECC said.

“The SECC and our partners are committed to improving the quality of life in the southeast lakefront neighborhoods, and we could not be more pleased with the response from the community,” said Diane Burnham, executive director of the SECC. “We received 18 applications for this year’s Neighborhood Enhancement Grant program, so there is clearly a need and enthusiasm for community beautification projects.”

The SECC administers the grant proposals and presents them to an award committee. “We provide technical assistance to groups, but we don’t judge the proposals themselves,” said Burnham. There is a list of qualifications each project must meet. For example, the projects must be visible from the street, must be in the five neighborhoods served by the SECC, must have a six month time frame, and must “physically enhance the neighborhood and build upon the character and uniqueness of that community,” said Burnham.

Some projects are fully funded and receive $4,000, but many “ask for what they need,” and “do not need to be fully funded,” said Burnham. “Without the sponsors of this program and the support of our community and the individual donors from the surrounding community, this program would not be possible,” said Burnham.