Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Planning Grant Funding for Vermont Communities

I recently discovered funding opps for Vermont communities for much needed projects for front end planning and feasibility studies to test viability of needed projects. This might be common knowledge but in talking to Economic Recovery officials the program I"m about to mention isn't well known or well taken advantage of.
The next round of application deadlines are July 28th with bi-annual Workshops for interested applicants, with one held June 3oth. I don't know if there is still space but it might be worth checking, and won't be offered again for some time.

Planning Grants provide funding for technical services ranging from $3,000 to 30,000 to help communities examine needed projects and get the ball rolling to later implementation. An important criteria which must be met is demonstrated value to 51% low and moderate income residents from the related planning work. A small in-kind contribution by the grantee is required to be included as mentioned below. Because there is federal funding involved traditional RFP's are required even if you're already working with consultants. Discuss this with your community development specialist.

The below detail is copied from the 2008-2009 Planning Guide found on the Vermont Community Development Program site found within the VT Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs overall site.


Planning Grant (PG) - Application Instructions

Provides funding for community development planning activities and/or pre-development activities in preparation for implementing a project in one or more of the program areas (housing, economic development, public facilities or public services). Planning grant funds allow communities access to the technical expertise and professional resources needed to test ideas, propose strategies, develop plans, establish policies and procedures, and conduct organizational activities. It is important to remember that the successful funding of a planning grant does NOT guarantee or imply that VCDP funding for the project at implementation will also be successful- the project must stand on its own merits and receiving VCDP planning dollars does not make the implementation proposal more competitive.

Grant Range: $3,000 minimum to $30,000 maximum or $40,000 maximum. A 25% match of cash or cash-in-kind goods or services is required for all PGs. The maximum funding request for a single municipality PG application is $30,000 and for a required consortium PG application, it is $40,000. For an explanation of a consortium, please see below.

NOTE: If a community has an open PG, it will bear on the competitiveness of an application for an additional PG. Applicants will need to explain in the application their capacity to manage an additional PG and explain why the open PG is not completed and provide the timeline for completion.

Other Grant Types Offered besides Planning Grants
  • Implementation Grants
  • Accessibility Modifications Grants
  • Home Access Grants
  • Technical Assistance
  • Micro-enterprise Development

Types of Projects

VCDP funds are able to assist communities with a wide range of projects, because the funds can be used for many types of expenditures. The VCDP is a resource for housing, economic development, public facilities, public services, and planning. Types of activities within these project areas include:

  • Housing rehabilitation and acquisition, lead abatement, home ownership assistance
  • Economic development loans to businesses
  • Water, sewer, and roads serving economic development or housing
  • Rehabilitation or acquisition of public facilities; senior, child care, assisted living, or homeless facilities
  • Handicap accessibility modifications
  • Planning
  • Disaster assistance
Link to Example Awards to Projects


To learn more, go to the website and find out who your regional Community Development Specialist is by county to speak with them about your questions or help needed. If you need any technical services such as preliminary feasibility studies, masterplanning, architectural programming I can help you. Please contact me at the Maclay Architects at 802-496-4004 or

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