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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. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the planning grant process.

Program components

To be competitive, projects must demonstrate:
  • They meet a goal of the Federal Act: Benefit to low-and-moderate-income (LMI) persons;
  • 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.

Maximum grant amounts and local match requirement

The following maximum grant awards have been established by OCRA for Planning Grant recipients:
  • Water Utilities infrastructure studies are limited as follows:
    • $60,000 for a study on two utilities, and
    • $90,000 for a master utility study (water, wastewater, and storm water).
    • Note: All utilities controlled by the community must be covered by the study. 
  • Comprehensive plans are limited as follows:
    • Populations over 10,000 are limited to $60,000, and
    • Populations under 10,000 are limited to $50,000
  • Economic recovery plans are limited to $50,000.
  • Broadband plans are limited to $50,000 for a single community; $70,000 for a region.
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 minimum local match of 10% of the total project cost will be required for funding consideration.  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.

Application timeline and process

Please note that OCRA will not be accepting first quarter (Q1) planning grant applications. The agency will use this time to collect and evaluate stakeholder feedback on the program. OCRA will reopen for applications in the second quarter (Q2) as noted on the 2022 agency calendar.

Minimum Plan Requirements

Plans funded by the Planning Grant Program must meet the following minimum requirements per the plan type. (view policies page)
Effective for applications submitted after August 1, 2020 unless an exception is approved by CDBG staff. 

November 1, 2018 through August 1, 2020 minimum plan requirements:

Please contact the CDBG Program Manager, Bolanle Oladokun, if you have specific questions.