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Community Recovery Coordinator Jeanette Clark, right, checks information at a public meeting for Denham Springs residents to explain the federal Hazardous Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The program offers funding to qualified applicants who have been flooded to elevate their homes or buy their homes and turn the property into green space.

DENHAM SPRINGS – Many ideas were tossed out, discussed and considered before “Denham Strong | Strategy for the Future” was compiled.

The game plan for short-term recovery and long-term improvements to Denham Springs got into print, but it faced the same challenge all great ideas face.

How do you pay for it?

Grants are available from state and federal agencies and programs, while private foundations, businesses and organizations also offer funding for projects that help the public.

Denham Strong has filled out many applications, won some grants, didn’t get other grants and have a handful pending, according to Jeanette Clark, community recovery coordinator for the city, who oversees the group.

In its progress report for 2018, Denham Strong lists a total of 19 grants sought.

It received seven grants, did not make the cut on seven more and is still waiting on word on five grant applications, according to the report.

“Grants can take a long time," Clark said, as Denham Strong and the city has learned experiencing the grant application process. “When you’re applying (for funding) your project is one year out."

“We’re applying for grants for projects that would start next year,” she said.

For federal grants and foundation grants, “It gets complicated,” Clark said. Some governmental agencies and private foundations can take up to a year to study applications before making decisions. “It takes a lot of patience,” she said.

On the other side, some foundations hand out funding every four months.

“Firehouse Subs Foundation -- that was an easy grant,” Clark said. The Firehouse Subs Foundation Safety Equipment Donation was used to buy a rescue boat for Denham Springs.

“We found out pretty quick,” Clark said.

The Firehouse Subs Foundation distributes grants every four months, so applicants can re-apply every four months. Denham Strong has done this, and according to its report, will be doing it in 2019 or 2020 for certain grants.

Other grants received in 2018 were from the Local Road Safety Program, Louisiana Government Assistance Program, Louisiana Historic Preservation Office, Integrated Emergency Management Course, Opportunity Zone and Urban Systems Project.     

The grant from the state Historic Preservation Office helped survey historic structures and assembled a nomination of the downtown Historic District, which was successful in getting to on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Local Government Assistance Program grant was used to buy Geographic Information System (GIS) equipment.

The Local Road Safety Program grant will be used to install countermeasures at seven of the highest crash areas on local roads.

Grant applications pending are: Brilliant Efficiencies, Community Water Enrichment Fund, FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance Program, FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program and Silver Jackets Flood Risk Management Program. 

The proposal submitted to the Silver Jackets will fund development of  green infrastructure alternatives and document locations for future projects to build on an EPA Building Blocks Workshop attended by Denham Strong.

The Louisiana Silver Jackets was established in 2015 to increase efficiency and coordination between the state and federal governments in developing solution to flood risk management.

Its charter member include the state Department of Transportation’s Office of Public Works, Louisiana Protection and Restoration Authority, Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Two drainage projects were submitted through Livingston Parish for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for Jason Drive and Woodcrest Avenue to increase the capacity of cross drains.

Another proposal to HMGP would retrofit the Police and Fire departments and build a flood wall to protect the Police Station from future flooding.

Submitted to FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation and Flood Mitigation Assistance programs was an application for a grant to elevate eight homes that flooded and purchase two more homes, demolish them and convert the property into green space.

A proposal for a Community Water Enrichment Fund grant will go to water line expansion projects to increase capacity to residents.

Grant applications were not successful to the AARP Community Challenge, EPA Brownfields, FEMA Firefighter’s Assistance Grant, National Park Service Underrepresented Communities, States’ Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP), State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship Proposal and U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers Market Promotion Program.

 

The SEDAP proposal would have bought four bypass pumps for sewer lift stations. The grant was not funded because bypass pumps were considered to be the same as generators, the report said.

Denham Strong will continue to seek funding for bypass pumps.

The Capital Region Planning Commission submitted a proposal for the EPA Brownfields grant for the Florida Boulevard corridor. The proposal was not selected this year but will be resubmitted at a later date.

Denhm Strong also will reapply to Farmers Market Promotion Program to hire a market manager and marketing funds for the farmers market.

The Firefighter Assistance Grant application was to buy a GIS server to gather ongoing construction information throughout the city.

The State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship was for sirens to be placed throughout the city as an early warning system.

The AARP Community Challenge grant was ought to fund a community garden.

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