HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — From dog parks to playgrounds to fitness trails, these are all things that can uplift a neighborhood, but who’s going to pay for it? Well, Hillsborough County is raising its hand. They are offering dozens of mini-grants to help fund positive community projects.
Sean Troyer and Stefan Smith are always thinking of ways to improve their River Hills community, which naturally sits along the Alafia River.
“A lot of people run out here, a lot of people bike out here, we thought, 'hey a fitness trail would be a great idea,'" said Troyer.
This is exactly why Hillsborough County has established a mini-grant program, which is now more than 20-years-old.
“Let's face it we’ve come out of a very challenging pandemic and it’s still having some lasting effects so it’s kind of nice for them to be able to say, ‘you know what we can do these things and let's go ahead and go for this grant,’” said Stephanie Agliano with Hillsborough County.
The Trails of River Hills was just the type of project the county looks for. River Hills received a $5,000 grant.
“We want a purpose and every neighborhood is different so their purpose is going to be different,” said Agliano.
Troyer and Smith said not only is the trail strengthening residents physically but also strengthening the community as a whole by bringing people together.
“Oh absolutely, we see people out here everyday working, using the stations, just going for a hike and enjoying the river,” said Smith.
“Just with what everybody was dealing with in the country with COVID and such it allowed people to get out and not isolate, be outdoors with nature,” said Troyer.
Every year Hillsborough County re-opens the program. In 2022 they are looking to hand out $75,000 in grants for 20 to 30 neighborhood projects throughout the county. Grants can be up to $5,000.
“What’s your neighborhood’s story, and what’s your legacy? What are you going to put in place that’s going to last,” said Agliano.
The deadline to apply for a mini-grant is December 19 at 5 p.m. For more information on the application process visit www.hcflgov.net\minigrant.