Small & Simple Grants Bring Big Changes

Capitol Hill is about to get some long-awaited TLC.

The neighborhood has recently received a number of the city of Seattle’s Small and Simple Grants. These grants offer funding to small groups for community improvement projects.

Gay City Health Project was one such recipient, obtaining a $19,000 grant. This multicultural health and wellness organization aims to promote health, wellness and fellowship within the gay community.

Gay City provides a number of resources for gay men, including testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Gay City plans to improve the existing Calamus Auditorium with a new professional-grade sound system and projector as well as risers. The grant provides the organization with greater opportunity and options for high-capacity LGBT art events.

“The Calamus Auditorium at Gay City is an exciting part of our new facility that exponentially increases our capacity for collaborating with LGBT artists,” said Deputy Director Peter Jabin. “With the support and guidance of a council of local artists, Gay City Arts presents challenging works throughout the year to galvanize an audience for queer arts, foster the development of LGBT artists, and facilitate artistic excellence that is accessible.”

The auditorium will enable Gay City to collaborate with artists from many disciplines, including theater, film, spoken word, music and visual arts.

In addition to renting the auditorium to outside events and organizations, Gay City, in accordance with Department of Neighborhood regulation, has allocated “a certain amount of free use for/by the community as a ‘public benefit’” in recognition of the city’s support.

The recent grant is just one of many that have gone to supporting the improvement of Gay City facilities and services—the total cost of the renovation is $60,000. Gay City has also received grants from Pride Foundation, Boeing Employee Community Fund, The Calamus Foundation and King County 4Culture.

“It’s this kind of support and investment that makes our micro-communities unique and vital places to live,” Jabin said.

On a not-so-small and simple scale, one grant could change the cityscape itself.

The Melrose Promenade project is focused on renovating Melrose Avenue to contain public spaces, parks and possibly street vendor space.

Melrose Avenue is located next to I-5, and will offer beautiful views of the city once the project is completed. The $20,000 grant is only small portion of its $1.5 million budget.

The first community meeting for the project took place on Jan. 24 at Broadway Coffee. Community members will continue to meet and discuss the project as it unfolds.

The Capitol Hill area also received further financing to renovate and improve Broadway Hill Park. A previous grant was allocated for a schematic design, and with the new grant the project will be able to take another step towards completion by funding design development.

The park, which is currently little more than a patch of grass, will feature “a large lawn area and seating at a ‘front porch’ area at the top of the site and on a seat wall alongside the sidewalk,” according to Seattle Parks.

It will also feature a community garden and spaces for natural play and art.

Kevin may be reached at kdunham@su-spectator.com

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