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Grant program

Tom R

Cyburbian
Messages
2,274
Points
25
Our Planning Commission wants to create a relatively small grant program to assist local communities to draft a comprehensive plan. The funds will probably be given on a match basis. We have 17 townships, 6 villages, and 3 cities in the county. I have administered a county wide state infrastructure program but it was at a much larger scale (funds available) than this will be. I know these things can turn into a hornet's nest with all the entities competing for the money. So, I think we need a small program that is objective enough to be accepted by all (or most) yet simple enough to be doable by local government personnel that are part time or volunteers.

Adhereing to a well worn planning tradition, I'm trying to find out what others have done. Does anyone out there have any examples I could look at? Thanks. Tom
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Tom, what is your definition of 'relatively small'?

The only example I know of was state-wide in Wisconsin. Here's their site you can look at. Although it is a state program, it is not significantly funded for its mission.

My experience is that there are too many entities competiting for too little funds which have too many strings attached to them. You are right in your hornets nest assessment. Design a program too small, in a county with divergent yet competing local interests, and it may not be worth the hassle - especially on a volunteer admin basis?
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
Ditto on what Chet said.

I've worked with several state wide planning grant competitions but have never seen it done on the county level. One option you have is to redirect some of the county's CDBG funding into a small planning grant program... as long as those municipalities and communities that apply for the funds are at least 51% low income -- Seems like it could be a lot more trouble than it's worth.
 

solarstar

Cyburbian
Messages
207
Points
9
For what it's worth, Louisiana doesn't have enabling language for a comp plan so we've been on our own. We have started very small, with a future land use element and a transportation element. It doesn't really do much yet, but this is all new for the public officials so we know we have to go forward slowly. Is there an interest in the local jurisdictions for a land use element? That's a start. Or maybe there could just be an implementation-type element that covered intergovernmental agreements since that is probably an issue with that many jurisdictions involved.

(I'll admit I'm more familiar with Florida, where comp plans are in place and mandated, so this may not have helped you much.)
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,371
Points
29
I spent some time helping administer small grants to citizen groups. I think you have to decide how "small" small can be and still be helpful before you begin. You also have to think about how "personal" this could get within one county, where everyone knows everyone else. I would choose a well-defined theme that the proposals must implement, based perhaps in the county comp plan, (and which could change from year-to-year), and develop an extremely well-defined set of evaluation criteria that are published for comment before being adopted and used. Without these steps you will be criticized for bias, no matter what decisions you make.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
This may not answer your question, but I do have a couple thoughts on the program. Definitely provide an outline of the topics you would like to see addressed in the plan. Also, consider an incentive to have neighboring municipalities do combined plans. For instance, if you give $5,000 grants, do one to each community, then a $2,500 bonus when they do a joint plan.
 

Tom R

Cyburbian
Messages
2,274
Points
25
grants

They're talking $25K per year from the County with a 50-50 match. It's more like a seed grant program than anything. Thanks for the input.
 
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