KITCHENER – For Lazar Paroski, a 14-year-old Kitchener resident, the Placemaking Challenge grant offers an opportunity to bring his passion for math to his local park. Paroski won a highly competitive grant process to build a math wall and accessible picnic table in Morrison Park. The math wall will be for children, grades one to six, and include learning tools to help teach kids math skills in a fun, outdoor setting.

“A math wall would add a unique feature to a City of Kitchener park that does not exist anywhere else,” explained Paroski in his grant application.  “I am a grade eight student that really loves math and I’ve watched my friends struggle to learn math in a classroom setting. Learning in a fun place surrounded by fresh air is an innovative idea and can only be a positive addition to Morrison Park.”

Paroski has hosted several workshops for students at local elementary schools, Lyle Hallman Pool and Centreville Chicopee Community Centre to gather input on the types of learning tools that will go on the math wall.  He will finalize his design in the coming weeks and work with city staff to have it installed this summer.

Last fall, the City of Kitchener received 43 applications for five new Placemaking Challenge grants between $6,000 and $20,000.  The grant supports resident-led projects intended to improve neighbourhood gatherings places and create destinations where people want to spend time. Additional grant recipients will be announced at a later date.

A second round of grants, between $1,000 and $2,000, are available to groups who submit a Placemaking Challenge grant application before April 9, 2018.

“Nine out of ten wards submitted an application for the first round of Placemaking Challenge applications,” says Darren Kropf, neighbourhood development office associate for the City of Kitchener. “This strong response and geographic distribution is clear evidence that neighbourhoods all across the city are getting excited about the Love My Hood strategy and the new opportunities it brings to make great gathering places.”

The application form is now available at lovemyhood.ca. Residents new to the concept of placemaking can access a Placemaking Guide, as well as read several frequently asked questions related to the challenge. 

Ideas for small grants include things like bicycle fix-it stations, pollinator gardens, historical boards, yoga in the park, or temporarily converting a parking spot into a mini-park. For these lower grant values, temporary or “pop-up” ideas are encouraged but projects must still interact with a specific place and improve it in a tangible way.

To qualify for the grant, groups are asked to complete their project by July 29, 2018. On July 27-29, 2018, the city and grant recipients will host a Placemaking Challenge weekend for all groups to display and animate their projects and celebrate their unique gathering places in neighbourhoods across the city.

The Neighbourhood Placemaking Challenge, hosted by the City of Kitchener, is a key action of Kitchener’s Love My Hood strategy. Love My Hood encourages residents to take the lead in making their neighbourhood great, and the city is committed to supporting them along the way.

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Media Contact

Helena Foulds

Communications and Marketing Associate

City of Kitchener

519-741-2200 ext. 7191

Helena.foulds@kitchener.ca