Carmel Village Homeowners Association, located in southeast Charlotte off of Pineville-Matthews Road, has taken full advantage of the various programs offered by the City of Charlotte's Housing & Neighborhood Services for the improvement of their community. They have been awarded numerous Neighborhood Matching Grants (NMG), funds eligible to neighborhood-based organizations to make their community a better place to live, work, and play.
Since 2015, Carmel Village has been awarded over $50,000 for community enhancement projects, including a pool area improvement, landscaping, a community dog park, and a picnic pavilion.
"Being awarded these grants has brought the community together," Patricia Johanson, Carmel Village HOA President, explained. "It has encouraged owners to make improvements to their units and take pride in the community. Neighbors watch out for one another. More residents now know who their neighbors are because they met working volunteer hours."
The neighborhood plans to use its latest award to install a picnic pavilion by their grilling area, a space previously occupied by tennis courts. This comes as a capstone for several years of NMG projects: the neighborhood started with horseshoe pits and a paved area with picnic tables, more recently added a gas grill and fire pit, with completion of the pavilion this past year.
Johanson explained that applying for a neighborhood matching grant takes time and perseverance, but not to get discouraged. "You may have to switch ideas sometimes and be willing to research the project completely. Ideas are great, but you must be realistic about what can be done," she said.
Neighbors getting to know one another and working together to create change have a positive impact on a neighborhood's quality of life. At the heart of the NMG program is the community match portion of the project. Matching city dollars means that organizations and partners will pledge volunteer time, in-kind donations or services and/or cash to match the amount of grant funds they are receiving.
The four primary goals of the NMG program are to build neighborhood capacity and participation, allow neighborhoods to determine improvement priorities, leverage citizen involvement and resources to revitalize and reinvest in low and moderate income neighborhoods, and stimulate development of partnerships between the City and community groups. Carmel Village has set an excellent example as a community who has been successful in all aspects of the NMG program and has big plans for the future of their community from continuing to replace retaining walls and stair railings to speed markers or a new fence around the communal pool.
You can learn more about the NMG Program, eligibility requirements, and how to apply here. For questions, contact the Community Grants Program Manager, Jackie Clare at firstname.lastname@example.org.