Identifying funding for your municipal project

Posted in: Bridges, Highways, Municipal

The City of Lake Mills received a nearly $300,000 grant for the Lake Mill Park from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

“Doing more with less” is a constant struggle for municipalities. Demands for public services and programs increase, but finding ways to fund these projects is becoming increasingly more difficult. I’ve come across a number of municipalities looking for alternative funding sources, which is a smart way to increase financial means for projects. The following departments and agencies offer a number of resources for municipal projects ranging from transportation planning to economic development.

U.S. Department of Transportation

While this may be an obvious place to look, the government has set aside billions of dollars for various transportation projects. From public transportation, city planning and national highways, the DOT offers a number of funding options for municipalities. MAP-21 and the TIGER grants are just two of many options that the federal government offers local departments.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The HUD offers Community Development Block Grant funds which help communities revitalize neighborhoods and economic development. Communities have discretion as to how they can use these funds. Tourism, historic preservation and infrastructure initiatives are all eligible projects for CDBG funds.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

If your project has an environmental focus, a smart place to start is the EPA website. The organization offers funding for projects which either focus on rebuilding the environment or have environmental benefits. They also offer a list of websites which provide funding opportunities for specific projects like bicycle and pedestrian paths, watershed protection and tribal initiatives.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Similar to the EPA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers grants and financial assistance to municipalities with projects that will improve water and natural habitats. Areas and projects eligible for this funding can include watershed districts, pump stations and visitor centers.

National Park Foundation

As the only national charitable partner of the National Park Service, the NPF funds grants and programs that enhance national parks. Whether this includes building trails, transportation planning or environmental and traffic studies, the foundation provides opportunities for communities to enhance their tourism resources.

These resources are just a starting point to help you identify project funding. For more funding opportunities across a wide variety of disciplines, check out to search for all government-funded grants available in the U.S.

Dustin Wolff, AICP

About the Author

When he works on development and preservation plans, Dustin Wolff, AICP, keeps in mind that communities need to evolve. “Helping people shape their futures is a rewarding and humbling responsibility,” he says. “The built environment has a profound effect on our lives. Decisions we make today will be felt for years to come.” He also enjoys visiting cities around the U.S. to experience what makes them special.

Read more posts by Dustin Wolff, AICP