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Planning Grants

Planning grants are funded with Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The goal of the program is to encourage communities to plan for long-term community development. Community leaders can apply for projects relating to such issues as infrastructure, broadband, downtown revitalization, and community facilities.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the planning grant process.  

Application Packet - click here (includes both application and instructions)

To be competitive, projects must demonstrate:
  • They meet a goal of the Federal Act;
    • Benefit to Low- and Moderate-Income Persons;
    • Prevention or Elimination of Slums or Blight.
  • The particular planning project addresses established long-term community priorities;
  • The funds granted will have a significant impact on the overall project;
  • The community has demonstrated a strong commitment to the project and its sustainability; and
  • The project is ready to proceed upon grant award and will be completed within 12 months.
The following maximum grant awards have been established by OCRA for Planning Grant recipients:
  • Environmental infrastructure studies are limited as follows:
    • $35,000 for a study on a single utility,
    • $45,000 for a study on two utilities, and
    • $50,000 for a master utility study (water, wastewater, and storm water).
  • Comprehensive plans are limited as follows:
    • Populations over 10,000 are limited to $50,000, and
    • Populations under 10,000 are limited to $40,000
  • Downtown revitalization plans are limited as follows:
    • Populations over 2,000 are limited to $40,000, and
    • Populations under 2,000 are limited to $30,000.
  • Economic development plans are limited to $40,000.
  • Public facilities plans (including libraries, community centers, etc.) are limited to $20,000.
  • Historic preservation plans will be limited to $20,000.
  • Broadband plans will be limited to $50,000
    • Environmental assessment plans will be limited to $30,000.
The maximum award is not intend ed to serve as a target figure for requests for grant assistance. OCRA will review the level of grant assistance requested and will consider the appropriateness of the project’s scope, the level of demonstrated need, and the financial resources of the applicant. If OCRA determines that a lesser amount is appropriate, it may be necessary to revise the project before it is submitted in final form. A minimum local match of 10% of the total project cost will be required for funding consideration.

General types of activities that are eligible for Public Facilities Program funding include:
  • Individual project plans and feasibility studies
  • Community development, redevelopment and functional plans in areas such as:
    • Comprehensive plans
    • Downtown revitalization plans
    • Strategic economic development plans
    • Floodplain and wetlands management
    • Utilities
    • Historical preservation
  • Environmental assessments
As February 2019, OCRA no longer accepts applications for award grants for Master Park plans. However, 
DNR created a series of tools to help communities create their own Five-Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan required to apply for DNR funding. Click here for a one-pager of more information. 
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Applications received by 4 p.m. on the 15th of each month will be considered for that month’s funding. Applications submitted after the 15th will be considered on a rolling basis for the following month.

The application and supportive documentation should be packaged as single PDF file and electronically submitted by email (if under 20 MB in size) to Jackson Hughes. If the PDF is over 20 MB in size it must be mailed on a thumb drive. Digital signatures will be accepted. No paper copies should be submitted.

Applications received by 4:00 pm EST on the 15th of each month will be considered for that month’s funding. Applications submitted after the 15th will be considered on a rolling basis for the following month. 

For further instructions on how to submit Planning Grant applications, see the Application Packet and contact your Community Liaison.
Click here to view our Community Liaison district map and corresponding contact information.

Additional Resources

Minimum Plan Requirements

Plans funded by the Planning Grant Program must meet the following minimum requirements per the plan type. (view policies page)

After November 1, 2018 minimum plan requirements:

Prior to November 1, 2018 technical requirement resources:

 Please contact the CDBG Program Manager, Matt Wakefield, if you have specific questions. 

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