In an effort to help local communities increase communication and visibility, Worthington is offering grant funding to those interested in improving their surroundings.

In an effort to help local communities increase communication and visibility, Worthington is offering grant funding to those interested in improving their surroundings.

The city's Neighborhood Grant Program offers up to $500 in funding for "projects or events that demonstrate a public benefit and promote neighborhood identity."

Anne Brown, the city's spokeswoman, helps coordinate the program and said it has existed for about five years. Previous uses of the funding have been as simple as a community bulletin board or as involved as a neighborhood newsletter.

Block parties and similar events have been planned, but Brown said city staff members prefer projects to have some sort of longer-reaching nature rather than a "one-time" project.

"The goal is to provide funds for neighborhood residents who are working on projects that are either to build connectivity among themselves -- to start a neighborhood civic association, for example -- or maybe create a neighborhood gathering spot like a bench or something," Brown said. "It has to be on public property, but just aims to create connections."

Funding comes from a pot of about $2,000, meaning four projects could be completed using the full $500 limit, or more ideas could be funded if they cost less.

To be accepted, Brown said, the city staff members like to see a lasting effect.

"If it can demonstrate a long-term impact, that's important," she said. "If it's not just a one-time thing but something that can really benefit the neighborhood in the long run."

For the most part, she said, the applications in previous years have been excellent.

"We've been very happy with some of the projects the community has come up with," she said. "It's brought them together in a way that they still feel those connections from the project and helps them move forward."