SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Some of Springfield’s oldest neighborhoods will now have the chance to get money back for sprucing up their houses. 

It is part of an initiative turned non-profit called Restore SGF, which is challenging neighbors to invest in their homes. 

Restore SGF held a ribbon cutting Sept. 13 for their new office space on Sunshine Street.

The group is behind the Block Challenge Grant Program. Homeowners in select neighborhoods can apply to participate in the program which reimburses residents up to $2,500.

The goal of the Block Challenge Grant Program is to do more than improve the outside of the houses, but also foster community by having neighbors work in teams.

“If you have 10 to 19 people on a team, we will grant them $2,500,” said Restore SGF Interim Executive Director Dana Elwell. “If it’s 5 to 9 people on team, we can grant them $1,000.”  

This program is the product of multiple years of research. Becky Volz, president of the Woodland Heights Neighborhood Association says she’s been a part of this project from the beginning.   

“Just getting to know each other, you feel safer, you feel more connected, and then you get working together,” said Volz. “That’s what we saw in Des Moines and heard from some of the neighbors in the program up there, how they didn’t know they had such awesome neighbors until they got invited to do this program and work together.”  

The first neighborhoods eligible for the program are Woodland Heights, Grant Beach, Doling Park east of Robberson Avenue, Fassnight, and Meador Park east of National Avenue. 

“We want neighbors to be able to drive down the street, say that house got improved,” Elwell said. “That one further down, that house got improved so they can kind of see it’s contagious type thing. So, it’s really about anything outside that would be an improvement to the property.”  

“First of all, it’ll make me smile,” Volz said. “Second, I think when a community improves, everything else around it improves, you know, your attitude, your perception.” 

Homeowners can fill out an application for the Block Challenge Grant Program on Restore SGF’s website.