The Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa del Rey is seeking potential partners to participate in a City of Los Angeles Community Beautification Grant program.

The Neighborhood Council has established an ad hoc committee to solicit various programs from the community and select one or more projects for the Neighborhood Council to participate in. In order to qualify for the program, a project site must be within the City of Los Angeles, have public access and a timeline that can be completed in nine months or less.

Projects can receive up to $10,000 in funding from the city, which must be matched dollar for dollar. Though the Neighborhood Council cannot contribute funds to the “match” because its funding comes from the city, the Neighborhood Council can assist in providing volunteer labor, which can be counted toward the match.

The Neighborhood Council will also provide a letter of support for the project or projects that it joins.

Among the types of project considered for the grant program are public art, murals, neighborhood identification markers, community or literacy gardens, landscaping, tree plantings, benches, planters, trash receptacles, playground equipment or other similar projects.

Awarded funds can be used to pay for materials, supplies, and professional costs to complete the project. Funds cannot be used to maintain the project after completion.

Those interested in having their organization’s project considered by the Neighborhood Council should contact me, the ad hoc committee chairman, at (310) 645-2295.

Committee members will consider projects this month and make recommendations to the Neighborhood Council board of directors at its October meeting.

COMMUNITY PICNIC —

The Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa del Rey will sponsor its second annual community-wide picnic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, September 24th, at Westchester Park, near the intersection of Manchester Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard.

The Neighborhood Council will honor a variety of local “stars” who are nominated by local residents.

Monday, September 5th, is the deadline for submitting nominations for “stars” recognition.

“These are the people who don’t have all the awards hanging on their walls,” said council president Gwen Vuchsas. “We want to recognize the everyday stars of our neighborhood.

“The people who help you take your trashcans to the curb. The people who help pick up trash to keep the neighborhood clean. The people who help drive seniors who can’t drive themselves.

“We hope people all over Westchester, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista will recognize these real stars who don’t get recognized in other ways.”

Nominations for “Star of the Neighborhood,” may be e-mailed to stars@ncwpdr.org

Nominations can also be mailed to Stars of the Neighborhood, 5602 Manchester Ave., Westchester 90045.

The nominee’s name, address, phone number and reasons the nominee ought to be considered should be included in the e-mail. Those making nominations should include their own contact information as well.

Nominees must live or work in Westchester, Playa del Rey or Playa Vista.

Nominees selected by a Neighborhood Council committee will be honored during the September 24th picnic, which will include a free barbecue lunch, music, entertainment, games and prizes for children.

ARDEN CHALLENGE — Arden Realty, Inc., the large Southern California office landlord, will hold its fifth annual Arden Energy Challenge 2005 — Running on the Power of Community Giving — a 10-k and 5-k run/walk and 5-k dog walk Sunday, September 18th, at Howard Hughes Center in Westchester.

The Energy Challenge is Arden’s signature community fundraising event, benefiting four deserving local charities — the Westside and Westchester YMCAs, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Children Uniting Nations.

Representatives and volunteers from each of the four charities will be present to run, staff festival booths and support their organizations.

A total of $3,500 in prize money will be awarded to the three top finishers in the male and female divisions of the 10-k as well as medals for all participants of each race.

Following the race will be a family-oriented Finish Line Festival at Triangle Park at Howard Hughes Center featuring a free pancake breakfast, live entertainment, vendor booths and race-day giveaways in an event goodie bag.

All races will begin at 7:30 a.m. and feature a challenging new course designed especially for this event. Check-in and registration is from 5:30 to 7 a.m. and parking is free at Howard Hughes Center.

For complete details and a map of the course visit www.ardenenergyrun.com

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