Montauk Village, a townhome complex off Forest Hill Blvd., is the first community to receive a Defensive Measures Grant from the Village of Wellington.
Wellington communities could be eligible for up to $15,000 as part of the Defensive Measures Grant program, if they meet program guidelines.
Communities with a neighborhood watch program active at least six months or those that are classified as “transitional neighborhoods” are eligible to receive the money necessary to make neighborhood improvements in safety, lighting and landscaping.
The Defensive Measures Grant allows Wellington communities, as well as individual homeowners, the opportunity to receive grants from the Community Services Department.
The department reviews submissions for grants on a monthly basis to assess and determine that the completed applications adhere to program qualifications and display a need for neighborhood improvement.
“This is a grant that has been around for two or three years and is our incentive for communities to establish and maintain a neighborhood watch program,” Community Projects Manager Scott Campbell said.
In recent weeks, new neighborhood improvements were completed under the program and a need to offer more specialized equipment was demonstrated.
“We have just approved our first single resident cameras, and we also do grants for a specialty camera that reads the license plates of vehicles upon entry and exit.” Campbell said.
The program acknowledges the reality that while the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is sworn to protect the residents and communities of Wellington, it’s impossible for deputies to patrol all communities at all times. The Defensive Measures Grant provides an opportunity for residents to work with Wellington, the PBSO and neighbors to prevent crime and deter vandalism.
Montauk Village, a complex with 26 units, was experiencing an increase in non-residents cutting through the community because of the deterioration of its privacy hedges. “The grant has allowed Montauk to install a new fence in the back portion of the neighborhood, as well as bougainvillea hedges to provide better protection,” Campbell said.
The fences have been put up already, and it is anticipated that the bougainvillea hedges will be planted over the next week.
“It is truly very nice of them to offer and do this,” Montauk Vice President Wayne Swift said. “This complex is older, and non-performing units have made our funds deplete significantly. This is a huge help to us.”
Montauk Village is the first neighborhood to complete the application as a community and receive money from the program. Other non-transitional communities that are interested in the program may be eligible, as long as they are part of Wellington and meet the qualifications of an active neighborhood watch program.
A neighborhood watch program is defined as an assembled group of individuals who regularly engage with fellow members and appropriate officials to preserve neighborhood safety. In order to remain active, the group must communicate with the PBSO on a monthly basis, as well as hold at least four meetings a year to remain current with community activity.
Those who wish to start a neighborhood watch program must have at least 10 members and should contact Wellington’s Community Services Department for help setting up a meeting with the PBSO.
Swift said he would like to see other programs for improving different areas in Wellington neighborhoods.
“I’d like to see a grant for the parking lot, it’s in very bad shape, has potholes and needs serious upkeep,” he said. “One thing I like about Wellington is that they truly seem to handle their funds properly.”
The Defensive Measures Grant is also available to individual homeowners in transitional neighborhoods in amounts up to $500. “Also, landlords can apply for up to $500 for individual projects such as cameras, sensors, motion lighting, thorny brush or whatever is needed,” Campbell said.
For more information, contact Campbell at (561) 791-4105.
ABOVE: New hedges will soon be put in to stop people from cutting through Wellington’s Montauk Village.