new community investment fund aims to create community-supported public projects | News

Community organizations will have the opportunity to pilot city improvement projects under the city’s new Community Investment Fund (CIF), which aims to create community-supported public projects.

“This is a new program that really emphasizes the partnership between the city and the community,” City Administrator Dan Wietecha said at the January 3 city council meeting.

The city has budgeted $100,000 for CIF 2022 that can be split among one or more public projects chosen by the city council.

Proposals could include city projects already being considered for future years that the community believes should be completed sooner or could include new projects that the city has not yet considered.

According to the draft CIF Program Information, Guidelines and Application Instructions, projects must be public facilities with examples such as:

  • Street beautification
  • Improvements to a park or sports facility
  • Trail infrastructure
  • public art
  • Improved access to public amenities
  • Tourist facilities
  • Historical preservation or commemoration
  • Studies to investigate otherwise eligible projects

“It’s about building a nest egg for the community to make meaningful improvements where the community’s passion lies,” said board member Trevor Lund of CIF.

Proposed projects must be located on city property and must be completed by the end of 2023 to be selected for the CIF.

Applicant organizations may also offer matching funds to make their proposals more competitive, but these are not required for the grant agreement.

“Yes [the applicant organizations] having matching funds or in-kind help is probably a more competitive application because it helps us stretch the dollars more and get more projects done,” Wietecha said.

CIF will fund as many projects as the $100,000 budget allows and, under CIF’s draft guidelines, the city may limit grants in order to fund multiple projects.

Applications for CIF project proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis and first considered on March 31. After this date, applications will be considered on an open schedule as long as funds are available.

The proposals will be reviewed by the city’s finance committee and all relevant commissions, with final funding decisions made by the city council, according to the memorandum.

A kick-off meeting with likely candidate organizations is scheduled for mid-January to provide an overview of the CIF.

Applicants are encouraged but not required to consult with city staff before applying for the CIF.

Jill E. Washington