"Successful economic development is rarely about the one big thing. It's much more frequently about lots of small things working synergistically together off of a plan that makes sense for you and your community."
That's how Ed McMahon, senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute, described to Annual Meeting attendees how cities and towns can find their niche and create a lasting, high quality of life.
It's an idea that ties directly into the Association's Hometown Economic Development Grant program.
After all, said McMahon: "Why would anybody invest in a community that wouldn't invest in itself?"
The 2017 program will award grants up to $25,000 each to as many as 10 cities and towns that submit winning proposals for projects that will make a positive impact on quality of life. The grant program, which began last year, also promotes and recognizes innovation in economic development practices.
A key step in the application process is the council's passage of a resolution in support of the grant application. The deadline to apply for one of the Association's Hometown Economic Development grants is September 29.
The grants fund projects that can be replicated in other cities, will produce measurable results and can be maintained over time.
Cities and towns that receive a grant must provide matching funds. The amount of the match is determined by population. Those selected for grants are also required to submit reports about the progress and successes of each project and provide financial details about how the grant funds were spent.
Grant awards will be announced on or before October 31.
- Eligible projects can take any form. A grant may fund professional services, such as assistance developing a master plan; assets, such as wayfinding signage or a publicly owned water or sewer project; or programs developed in partnership with others such as business incubators or downtown revitalization efforts.
- Depending on a city's population, the required matching amount ranges from 5 percent to 15 percent of the grant award. A match can include in-kind contributions or other grant funds.
- Remember that your town or city council must pass a resolution before submitting the applications, committing it to providing a local match for a Hometown Economic Development Grant.