Kenneris filled with subdivisions that developers gradually installed as the metropolitan population expanded west roughly half a century ago. With each new neighborhood came some way of signifying their entrances. In addition to basic signage, there were gazebos, guard stations and landscaping.

The structures and other assorted features were as much for aesthetic enhancements as for marking territory. As such, neighborhood associations were keen to keep them looking nice -- and to do so with city money. Until the early part of last decade, the way to do that was to go chat with the district council member, who would typically have no problem getting approval from the full council.

There was no rhyme or reason to getting the money, nothing to define eligible expenditures or limit the amount spent. Requests could range from three to six digits. Then, a little more than ten years ago, the state auditor blew the whistle, calling the city out for failing to establish a public purpose or otherwise setting a criteria for handing out the money. The funding spigot dried, the entryways suffered.

Now the spigot is turning back on, but it'll run at a measured rate. The council on Thursday (March 19) passed an ordinance setting forth the circumstances under which the city will fund neighborhood entryway maintenance projects.

There's a $15,000 limit. Associations must request the funding via standard application in which they demonstrate the public purpose. The money must come from capital improvement money allocated to each councilman, ensuring no additional hit to the general fund. Funding for new structures will be available only if they are on city property; existing entryways in need of maintenance will have grandfather status.

"They've got to articulate the public case," said 5th District Councilman Dominick Impastato, who sponsored the ordinance. "This isn't just for building a swimming pool for exclusive use."

Impastato acknowledges that some might argue the associations ought to raise the funds amongst themselves. In his view, however, the community suffers when outward-looking facades fall into disrepair. He's also hoping the measure will help rejuvenate associations that are lagging or dormant.

"I envision a situation where we are rebuilding, say, a sign in a particular neighborhood that has a civic organization that hasn't been very active," Impastato said. "Maybe we can rally the neighborhood and say 'hey guys, that new sign is going in next week. Let's all get our hands out there in the mud. We're going to put some sweat equity into it.'"

Read the original here:
Kenner's neighborhood entryways to get a little help

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March 20, 2015 at 3:13 am by admin
Category: Gazebos