People mill around on the grass near a line of food trucks.
The Long Beach BBQ Festival, at Rainbow Lagoon Park in Long Beach on Saturday, August 18, 2018. Photo by Stephen Carr

This summer, residents of Long Beach will be able to apply for a micro-grant to host a free block party or a community project in their neighborhood, Mayor Rex Richardson announced on Monday.

To encourage neighbor engagement, Long Beach has waived all associated city fees to apply for and host an event, including barricade fees, Richardson said. Normally, block party applications are $100.

The city opened applications Monday for residents to apply for the Neighborhood Micro Grant Program, under which 67 grants of up to $1,500 will be awarded to “established” Long Beach neighborhood associations to apply and plan their event. Neighborhood associations must provide a signed W-9 to apply for the grants, which will come out of the city’s general fund.

“We want everyone in Long Beach to have a fun and safe summer,” Richardson said.

The push to incentivize neighborhood events is part of Richardson’s 100 Days of Summer Initiative, which will nix fees through Sept. 4. According to the city, the goal of the block party initiative is to encourage residents to socialize more within their neighborhoods, but applicants aren’t limited to hosting an outdoor party.

The city provided the following examples of events and projects to apply for:

  • A neighborhood block party, or culturally affirming celebration;
  • A food distribution or holiday meal for local families;
  • A neighborhood clean-up and community breakfast;
  • Installing neighborhood banners;
  • Building a vegetable garden with volunteers and students at a local school;
  • Installing a community book exchange library or community pantry box;
  • An employment, health education, or mental health resource fair;
  • A physical activity engagement project;
  • Providing tote bags and school supplies for local students; and
  • Eequity, inclusion and resiliency events.

“Applicants are encouraged to be creative,” according to the city. “Eligible public service events/projects must have support of the neighborhood organization’s governing body and the affected neighborhood.”

The city defines a “block party” as a one-day residential street closure to allow neighbors to come together. All rules associated with throwing a block party still apply. For example, bands, DJs, bounce houses and slides cannot be on a city sidewalk or street.

Those interested in hosting a block party must also gather signatures from the neighborhood, with 66% approval being required within the proposed blocked off area. Grant applicants must also provide documentation to show the costs of the items needed for the event.

The city will host a series of Neighborhood Grant Program application workshops. The first workshop will be held July 26 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. within the Long Beach Energy Resources Auditorium at 2400 E. Spring St. Find more information here.