PORTSMOUTH, R.I. \u2014 The Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) is now accepting applications for grants from the Merritt Neighborhood Fund, which supports the preservation of small parks, community gardens, and other natural spaces on Aquidneck Island.\n\n\n\nEstablished in 1999 to honor the late Peter M. Merritt, the organization\u2019s president emeritus, the Fund supports projects that strengthen community identity and character, and which model the ethic of land conservation and stewardship through community volunteerism. Grants typically range from $250 to $2,500.\n\n\u201cThis year marks the Merritt Fund\u2019s twentieth anniversary and we could not be more thrilled with the wonderful projects that have come to pass since we began,\u201d said Chuck Allott, Executive Director of ALT. \u201cIt has been very rewarding to see the ways in which Islanders have improved and beautified their public spaces with Merritt grants. Last year, we awarded 12 grants totaling over $16,000 to local community and neighborhood groups. Aquidneck Island residents and visitors all benefit from the creativity and effort that go into these projects.\u201d\n\nSome of the projects funded last year were: a bike path from the Big Blue Bike Shed to Miantonomi Park; trees for the Portsmouth Historical Society building; raised garden beds for Lucy\u2019s Hearth; expansion of a public prayer garden at St. John the Evangelist Church; and trees for Valley Park in Middletown.\n\nA full list of 2018 awards and applications for 2019 Merritt Neighborhood Fund grants may be found on the ALT website (https:\/\/ailt.org\/our-work\/merritt-fund\/).\n\nApplications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Award decisions will be announced in late May.