Neighborhood Improvement Project (NIP) Grant

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  • Purpose of the Neighborhood Improvement Project (NIP) Grant is to strengthen a neighborhood with the addition of permanent physical improvements and to promote a greater sense of community through resident participation in a neighborhood project.
  • Eligible Projects must be permanent physical improvements on public property and must result in an improved appearance to the neighborhood that positively affects a significant number of residents.
  • Grant amount that may be awarded is a maximum of $5,000 per year per application. There is no allowance to maintain previously established projects. 

The chances for success in being awarded the NIP Grant can be improved by working with City of Ames staff members, who are more familiar with successful projects in the past. The difficulty in describing what makes a successful project proposition is due to the infinite variables when considering the street/area for the proposed project, number of people willing to contribute time and money to the project as well as their relevant skills, and the initiative of neighbors to maintain the completed project. Brainstorming with your neighbors is one of the best ways to engage a wider audience in building a project together, rather than selling them on an already planned idea.

The following chart has descriptions and examples to guide you through the application. The City of Ames is eager to award this grant to eligible projects and would like to assist you in developing a successful project. 

If you have any questions about the Neighborhood Improvement Project Grant or the application form, please contact Diane Voss, City Clerk, at 515-239-5105.

Click here for the Neighborhood Improvement Project Grant Application

Tips for Creating a Solid NIP Grant Proposal -- Refer to Page 2 from the application (link above)

Decision Criterion  Description   Good example 
Resident Involvement Since the project is meant to be social and permanent, widespread resident contribution is necessary. The City recommends 30-plus residents contribute time and/or money to the project. Ongoing care of the completed project must be sustainable within the neighborhood, outside of the initial grant.
• Children may help with small tasks with adult supervision. 
• Should the project itself be too physically demanding for some, auxiliary activities like providing refreshments or contributing skills in other useful ways are allowed. 
The project should have a positive impact on the aesthetics and social fabric of the neighborhood. The project should reflect the creativity and personality of the neighborhood, while maintaining the City's general style and culture.
Safety Enhancement The project may directly or indirectly serve to enhance safety in the neighborhood.

Public Space Promotes Social Interaction One of the key elements to the proposal is that the project will encourage social interaction. A bench or community garden are examples of things that encourage social interaction beyond the project's initial implementation.
Improves Housing The impact of the project will improve the housing of those who live in the neighborhood.
Positively Contributes to the Environment Successful proposals will address and potentially solve an environmental concern. Considering the urban environment is critical.  Planting trees, shrubs, and perennials as a way to decrease stormwater runoff


People constructing a pergola

People sitting at a public Parklet

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