Brownfield Grants: Deadlines and Partners
December 2nd, 2019
The deadline is here! Applications are due for the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest round of Brownfield Grant Funding for ARC Grants (Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, Cleanup). Your drafts are completed and in the process of being uploaded to grants.gov and if not, it may be time for a session of lessons learned as the countdown to next year begins.
One lesson, whose importance was especially clear on this go round was to never underestimate your community partners. You may not even realize how many you have. Here’s a recent example that demonstrates that lesson.
You can review your grant in house a dozen times, send questions to the EPA officials, and have multiple reviews conducted by the TAB (Technical Assistance to Brownfields) reviewers, but no one can replicate the value added by local partners. All those above parties can tell you that this grant proposal is a winner, but only your local partners can really tell you how well it serves local needs and looks at local areas of concern.
Ironically, the best outside perspective comes from those inside the community. It’s the county officials you may not have known would even see the proposal, who will come to you with those questions that completely reorient how you see the work you’ve done. Your community partners might not know the fiscal year’s guidelines or what the reviewers are specifically looking for, unlike the reviewers you’ve worked with thus far. What that means is that your whole approach from site selection to structure and flow needs to be justified. “Because that’s what the guidelines say,” is not an adequate answer. In building those explanations you realize there are so many items in your proposal that can be strengthened in ways you’d never considered.
The best way to take advantage of this is as obvious as it is true. Finish your draft proposals early and have every one review it. But not simply that, seek out those local partners who haven’t been a part of the process. Don’t leave anyone out!
Tom Simmons, Marketing Assistant at HRP Associates, Inc.