Some new twists to an established—and highly valued—grants program
New building blocks have been inserted in the DCNR blueprint that leads many a borough, township or watershed group from dreaming about yesterday’s plans to implementing tomorrow’s improvements. They’re new twists in an application process that’s designed to make grant applications easier.
Would a new regional recreation complex best serve a mushrooming population? What’s the first step in preserving one of the last tracts of open land within the borough limits, or linking to your neighboring municipality downstream with a greenway that parallels your rebounding waterway?
The answer, of course, always revolves around funding, and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources again stands ready with potential grants to guide that special borough project from the conceptual stage to the enjoyment phase. This year, with an eye toward helping hopefuls while streamlining the application process, DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation announces grant applicants again will be offered online assistance in participating in the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, popularly known as “C2P2.”
“Early this year we will be offering two winter grant program webinars to aid those applying for 2015 grant funding,” said Lauren Imgrund, director of DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation. “One is geared for recreation and conservation projects, and the other is geared toward partnership efforts supporting public recreation, conservation or heritage initiatives. These webinars are designed to provide solid, how-to information that can spell success for grant applicants.”
Also, the bureau is rolling out a new electronic application system that provides significant improvements to facilitate utilization of the “e-grant.”
“The new application system is menu driven and includes a number of enhancements to help the applicant,” Imgrund said. “The process should be more user-friendly and streamlined.”
The first webinar—being offered today—is designed for new applicants interested in obtaining grant funding for public recreation and conservation projects. Participants will receive an overview of DCNR’s grant program; its new on-line application process; eligible types of projects and applicants; matching fund requirements; and strategies on how to create a “ready-to-go” competitive grant application. The webinar also will offer participants a chance to question BRC staff.
The second session, addressing partnership projects, will be offered from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 3. This webinar is designed for parties interested in obtaining grant funding to support public recreation, conservation or heritage initiatives across a state-wide or regional landscape.
Partnerships program project categories include: convening, education and training, special-purpose planning, implementation, and mini-grant programs. The webinar will provide a general partnerships program overview to include: eligible project activities; funding sources; matching requirements; and strategies on how to create a competitive grant application. Participants also will have the chance to ask general partnerships program questions.
Overseen by DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, the grant program application period opened Wednesday, Jan. 14, and closes Thursday, April 16.
Grant applications this year should relate to the developing statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. Specific priorities include: projects addressing major community park renovation and rehabilitation; land conservation for habitat; connections and urban green space; projects that implement rivers conservation plans, especially water trail enhancement, river access and river awareness; trail projects closing gaps in major statewide greenways and regionally significant trails; and collaborative statewide and regional recreation, conservation and heritage partnerships.
In late 2014, grants were announced that totaled $33.1 million and aided 219 projects across Pennsylvania that supporters say will create new recreational opportunities, conserve natural resources and help revitalize local communities.
The grants are administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Community Conservation Partnerships Program. Funding comes from the Keystone Fund, which is generated from a portion of the realty transfer tax; the Environmental Stewardship Fund; the ATV/Snowmobile Fund generated through fees for licenses; and federal monies.
The program combines several funding sources into one grant program. Funding comes from the Keystone Fund, which is generated from a portion of the realty transfer tax; the Environmental Stewardship Fund; the ATV/Snowmobile Fund generated through fees for licenses; and federal funds.
For more information on DCNR’s grant program, including how to apply online, visit here.
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