NEWBERRY – Wendy Kinser is keeping busy writing grant proposals for the City of Newberry, and she has several in the works that dovetail with current community ventures.
“There’s a lot out there, and it’s about finding money that will help the commission,” Kinser said, referring to the Newberry City Commission.
The City of Newberry has applied for a variety of grants, one which deals with tourist product development to bring in visitors from out of town.
The grant program is an effort between the Alachua County Tourist Development Council and the Business Convention Bureau.
The county’s competitive grant program can increase tourism by drawing in a community-based or heritage-based attraction or organization to bring in new events or products.
The city is applying for a Capital Construction Fund grant under this program. If the city is successful, the money will be used to renovate or enhance a facility directly targeted for growing tourism in the county.
The city can apply for up for $25,000 and has requested to use the funds to assist Nations Park in its construction improvements to make renovations to the facility to make it more comfortable for spectators to enjoy the event, Kinser said.
Kinser has also set aim on an Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, which is offered through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The city would use the amount of some $8,000 for “Project Kid Print” in partnership with Newberry High School’s Academy of Criminal Justice.
The funding will enable the school to obtain electronic fingerprint scanner equipment so that youngsters can print out a card with their fingerprints and pictures for parents to keep at home.
If the city receives the grant, the funds will allow for hands on experience for criminal justice students in administering the fingerprinting process, and to enhance public education through developing brochures and dialogues between students and their parents about personal safety.
The city is also looking for funding through the Historic Preservation Grants Program, and has applied as a certified local government for the maximum amount of $50,000.
This level of funding would about be equal to the city’s preservation plan for the Triangle Park area, specifically the old electric plant and jail.
“There’s a lot of history to those buildings…but we need to renovate them so that they can stay part of Newberry’s history,” Kinser said.
The city is looking to preserve the original equipment still inside the historic power plant, which could at a future point transition into a museum.
The current Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) alternative transportation program that will install a new system of sidewalks across Newberry can be incorporated with the preservation plans as well. This could result in connecting the historic land with Triangle Park area by putting in a crosswalk to the plant and connecting sidewalks and bike paths.
“If we can get this money and do some planning for that area and look at it as a whole, those buildings can be kept in a state where they can be used,” Kinser said.
Kinser said that grant applications can require applicant matching funds in the amount of the grant applied for, but if the municipality does not have the funds there is an application process to waive the match requirement.
The match requirement waiver may allow the city to apply for a fourth grant of up to $700,000 through the State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The grant would provide funding for repairs and maintenance for water and sewer on the east side of State Road 45, between southwest 15th Ave. and southwest 30th Ave., just south of the Nations Park site.
“Three different businesses are planning to come in and provide jobs just between the construction,” Kinser said. “It’s just a matter of needing assistance to make that happen.”
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