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, downtown revitalization, and community facilities. 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 initiative addresses established long-term community priorities;
  • The funds granted will have a significant impact on the overall project;
  • The community has a strong commitment to the project; and
  • The project is ready to proceed upon the grant being awarded and will be completed within 14 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, parks, etc.) will be limited to $20,000.
  • Historic preservation plans will be limited to $20,000.

The maximum award is not intended 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 local match of 10% of the total project cost will be required for consideration of funding.

General types of activities that are eligible for Planning Grant funding include: 
  • Individual project plans and feasibility studies
  • Community development, redevelopment and functional plans in areas such as:
    • Comprehensive plans
    • Park plans
    • Downtown revitalization plans
    • Strategic economic development plans
    • Floodplain and wetlands management
    • Utilities
    • Historical preservation
  • Environmental review and environmental assessments
  • Site specific/site control activities excluding land acquisition and purchase of options
Planning Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis. They are not required to be submitted on the first or last day of the month. If you have any questions on the Planning Grant program or would like to get started on an application, then please contact your Community Liaison. Click here for the district map and respective contact information.
Planning Grant application materials:
  • Application packet (Instructions and application to complete)
  • Application sample materials

Additional resources: