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Now is the time to apply for grants, says county

YAKIMA - Those people and organizations who are interested in applying for funds through Yakima County's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program have just about a month to get their proposals in writing and to the county's planning department.

Thursday evening, an informational meeting was held at the Yakima County Courthouse for those interested in presenting grant proposals for funding in 2005.

Kim Tully, a grant administrator for Yakima County, said the county's CDBG program is available to people, services or organizations that reside in, or low to moderate income people, in the unincorporated areas of Yakima County or in communities that are not large enough to have their own CDBG allocation. According to Tully, communities like Sunnyside, Grandview and Granger all have their own CDBG programs.

Kolya McCleave, a long range planner for Yakima County, explained to the approximately 15 people in attendance at the meeting that the first step in the CDBG process is writing a one-page description of the proposed project. The one-page descriptions are due to McCleave in the Yakima County Planning Department by no later than 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June. 1.

It's from the one-page written descriptions that Yakima County commissioners will select projects they will submit to the state for possible funding. Once a project has been selected by the commissioners, McCleave explained that a more detailed five-page proposal will need to be completed. The more detailed proposal will need to include information such as a budget, a time line for the project and more detailed information on who the project will serve.

From 1992 to 2003, Yakima County has received funding for more than 70 CDBG projects. Over the years those projects have included the Buena water and sewer system improvements, Buena housing rehabilitation and improvements to the Crewport water system.

Tully said at this point in the process the county is simply looking for project ideas.

"It could be where ever you are or whatever project you want," Tully said.

McCleave said the one-page written descriptions that the county is currently requesting from people, doesn't mean that people have to go out and do a lot of research on their own. He explained that the research will be done after a project has been selected by the commissioners.

"We're keeping it simple," McCleave said. "You'll want to have a project description, that's the important thing."

McCleave said when writing a project proposal it is also important to remember to include what the impact of the project could be on the community. He noted that the one-page descriptions should be looked at as an appeal to the commissioners to support a project.

"What does it really mean to you, heart and soul," McCleave said.

He said those who submit one-page proposals should also consider attending the July 6 public hearing, where commissioners will decide which projects they will sponsor.

"You'll want to come to the hearing to support your idea," McCleave said.

Once a project has been sponsored by the commissioners, the five-page detailed description of the project will be due by Sept. 24, with a final review being conducted by the commissioners Nov. 9.

Tully said the ceiling for CDBG project funding is $1 million per project, which is an increase over the $750,000 ceiling that was in place two years ago.

For more information on applying for CDBG funding through Yakima County, McCleave can be reached at (509) 574-2237 or kolya.mccleave@ co.yakima.wa.us.

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