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Block by Block Investment Program Celebrates Success

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By Reno County Housing 

 

RENO COUNTY, Kan. — The Block by Block Investment Program, an initiative funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and managed by the Housing Commission in partnership with Hutch Rec, is proud to announce the successful completion of its 2024 grant cycle. This innovative program, part of Hutch Rec’s Healthy Neighborhood Initiative, has seen remarkable engagement and investment from homeowners, significantly enhancing the curb appeal and fostering a strong sense of community across Hutchinson’s neighborhoods.​

Community and Homeowner Investment​

The Block by Block program has been a resounding success, supporting 14 home improvement projects with grants totaling over $19,000. These grants were used to reimburse homeowners for 50% of their project costs, up to $1,500 per household. The program, which encouraged clusters of neighbors in designated areas to collaborate on exterior home improvement projects, has demonstrated a tremendous impact. With this influx of funds, homeowners have invested more than $60,000 in their own projects, ranging from updating porches and replacing front doors to installing new exterior windows and adding flowerbeds.​

The financial investment by the homeowners showcases their commitment to not only improving their own properties but also to enhancing the overall appearance and value of their neighborhoods. This collaborative approach has resulted in visible transformations across the community, making Hutchinson’s neighborhoods more attractive and vibrant.​

“Residents have been really excited about this program because we intentionally made it a low-barrier program,” said Denice Gilliland, Neighborhood Development Manager at Hutch Rec. “The goal is to bring residents together to help them build connections with each other, but also to inspire pride in where they live.”​

Building Neighborhood Connections​

Beyond physical improvements, the Block by Block program has been instrumental in bringing neighbors together. By requiring at least five connecting properties to participate jointly, the initiative has fostered teamwork and strengthened relationships within the community. This collective effort has not only beautified neighborhoods but also built a sense of camaraderie among residents.​

The success stories from this cycle highlight how neighbors, who may have only been acquaintances before, have come together to plan and execute their projects. This interaction has laid the foundation for stronger, more supportive communities where residents feel more connected and invested in their surroundings.​

“To see programs come through that are backed by the city, backed by the county, it really is encouraging to see that they believe in not only the history that is in Hutchinson but also the families that are keepers of that history and the families who live in these homes,” said Michelle Stewart, a Block by Block participant.​

Looking Ahead​

Given the overwhelming success and positive feedback, the Block by Block Investment Program is set to open applications again in 2025. Residents of the featured neighborhoods south of 17th Street, including SW Bricktown, The Founders Neighborhood, Grace Arbor, Creekside, Midtown, and College Grove, are encouraged to apply. ​

For more information about the Block by Block Investment Program and other community resources, please visit Hutch Rec’s website or contact Adam Stewart at the Hutch Rec Downtown Office at 17 E 1st Ave. Don’t miss the chance to be a part of this transformative program in 2025 and contribute to the ongoing revitalization of Hutchinson’s neighborhoods.

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