Each Sunday we will feature a project going on within the city, happenings within a department or someone who works hard to provide services to the community. This week we take a look at some of the grants the city has received over the last year and the projects they have funded or will fund in the near future.
It takes a lot of work -- and money -- to run a city. To stretch taxpayer's dollars even further, the city aggressively applies for grants for projects ranging from road paving to equipment purchases.
The grants come from federal or state resources as well as public and private organizations.
Many of them are of the matching nature. For example, the grant will pay for 75 percent of the project and the city must fund the remaining 25 percent. The matching percentages vary widely. Some grants provide 100 percent of the funding for a project or purchase.
Securing a grant is no easy task. City employees charged with securing grants must first find a grant to meet certain criteria, then file a sometimes lengthy application in hopes of receiving the funds.
Here's a look at just a few of the grants the city has received over the last year:
- Four of the city's major construction projects were funded through federal-aid grants which require a 20 percent local match with federal funds picking up 80 percent of the projects. The recently completed Willowcreek Road improvement project between Central Avenue and the Indiana Toll Road cost about $1.75 million with $1.4 million coming from the federal government. The upcoming Marquette Greenway Trail project at AmeriPlex will cost just over $1 million, with just over $815,000 coming from federal funds. The upcoming Willowcreek Road/Crisman Road bypass project will cost $4.1 million with $3.2 million coming in federal funds. The Central Avenue West project, which will improve Central Avenue from Brandt Street to Peach Street will cost $6 million, with $4.8 million in federal funds being used.
- The Portage Parks Department recently received a $200,000 grant from the state Land and Water Conservation grant fund to offset costs for $400,000 of improvements to Imagination Glen Park. Those improvements included developing a quarter-mile-long multi-use trail, recycled benches, LED lighting and renovation of the existing concession stand/restroom building and replacing fencing.
- In 2020, the Portage Police Department recieve a $1,600 Safe Communities Grant from Enbridge which allowed the department to purchase first aid kits for all the vehicles in the patrol division.
- The police department also received a grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute of two speed detection devices which use laser technology. Each of the units is valued at $6,000.
- The police department has also received a federal grant from the Bullet Proof Vest Partnership which pays half the cost of body armor for each officer. They also receive payroll grant reimbursements for programs such as Operation Pull Over, DUI patrols, Porter County Multi Enforcement Group and other programs.
- In 2020 the Portage Fire Department received an Assistance to Firefighters Grant -COVID-19Supplemental for nearly $103,000. This regional grant was for adapters and N95 filters for use with their self-contained breathing apparatus. PFD hosted the grant and 14 departments received the equipment.
- The city's Wastewater Treatment Department received a $1.2 million 75 percent matching grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District which will fund work on the city's main wastewater interceptor line.
- The city also received two Community Crossings Matching grants from the state for road paving projects in 2020 totaling approximately $1 million. They've applied for another grant for 2021 for $1 million in matching funds for additional street paving projects.
- The city's Redevelopment Commission also recently received two grants from the Lake Michigan Coastal Program. A $40,000 grant, which is at a 50/50 match, will be used to identify, assess and prioritize city-owned parcels with a goal of implementing strategies for land conservations, stormwater management and economic development. The second grant, a $10,000 50/50 matching grant, will be used to support the Portage Garyton School Educational Outreach Project.