W. 47th Street Block Club uses grant to light porches

(Plain Press, December 2006) A $600 grant from the Neighborhood Connections Project of the Cleveland Foundation helped one neighborhood block club achieve its goal of lighting its street each night.

Fay M. Harris, a member of the W. 47th Street Block Club, which serves W. 47th between Bridge and Franklin, says the grant was used to encourage residents to turn their porch lights on at night and to help those without working porch lights to get new porch lights. Timers were also purchased to help homeowners who are frequently not at home to light their porches from dusk to dawn.

Harris said the block club began working on the issue of lighting the street with its concern about the low wattage of city streetlights. The effort expanded in the summer of 2005 when the block club began to encourage residents to turn their porch light on at night. At that time they discovered that not everyone on the street had a working porch light and many lacked modern timers.

In February of 2006, Harris said, with the help of Bob Shores of the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation and the Joel Ratner of Neighborhood Connections, the group wrote a proposal for funding to help those that needed assistance to light their porches. About 28 houses on the street were provided with lighting fixtures, bulbs or timers as a result of the grant, which the group received in May of 2006.

Prior to the lighting program the neighborhood was experiencing window breaking on vehicles, forced entry of some homes and petty theft of lawn furniture and outdoor items, says Harris. She now believes the neighborhood is safer. Since June, almost all the porch lights on the street have been lit from dusk to dawn, she said.

Harris encourages other block clubs to participate in the Neighborhood Connections grant process if they have a project that needs some funding. She praised the Neighborhood Connections staff for its help taking her block club’s project from an idea to a grant. The next grant cycle for Neighborhood Connections grants is in February of 2007.


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