A Clear Grant Strategy Helps Secure More Funding

A Clear Grant Strategy Helps Secure More Funding

When Tim Gross became Director of Public Works and City Engineer for Newport, Oregon, it didn’t take long to realize that the city’s capital improvement plan far outpaced the size of the budget.

Critical improvements were needed. Road and storm drainage systems needed repairs or updates. A lot of infrastructure needed upgrades to meet current seismic standards. This included a dangerous dam, estimated to cost $80 million to fix.

Government grants seemed a likely source to supplement the City’s capital improvement funds. But navigating the complex world of federal grant-seeking while also meeting the constant demands of his full-time job was challenging. Newport needed a solid strategy that would use staff time efficiently and help them secure the right funding. So, they partnered with Dig Deep Research—the water grant experts.

Dig Deep’s solutions enable local governments to leverage external funds for their water infrastructure systems. For Newport, step one was to develop a long-term, comprehensive funding strategy for its capital improvement projects.

The key is not to think about where you are today, but rather, where you need to be three, five, or even 10 years down the road.

Dig Deep helped the City of Newport understand which projects were most “fundable” and which funding programs were worth pursuing. The Dig Deep approach steers clients toward the most likely funding opportunities, reducing effort and increasing the odds of securing the funds.

To date, Newport has secured more than $27 million in low-interest loans and $17.6 million in grants for its capital improvements. Successes include:
  • a $1.5 million grant to fund 100% of the costs to seismically retrofit the Newport Fire Station
  • saving $2.2 million in interest by tapping into a special public financing package and rolling six projects into one loan at 1% interest
  • $1.15 million in government planning grants and $14 million in state funding toward that large dam project

With Dig Deep’s expert approach, Newport now has a sustainable funding plan in place for replacing and repairing the city’s aging infrastructure. “Pairing fundable projects with public and private capital funding allows the city to stretch its investments,” explained Gross.

“In some instances, we don’t have any out-of-pocket funds because we’re able to use one grant to provide the match for the next. That’s part of the strategic planning process, understanding how all those pieces fit together.” Although Gross recently left the City after a decade in his role, he is still a strong advocate for the Dig Deep approach and frequently offers his engineering expertise to Dig Deep clients.

About Dig Deep

Dig Deep Research helps communities find the best funding solutions for drinking water, storm water, and wastewater projects. From research to writing to strategic grants planning, our water grant experts provide solutions that enable local governments to secure external funding for their water infrastructure systems. If you have a water infrastructure project and are struggling to navigate the complex world of government water grants, contact us. Our water grants experts can help you save time and secure the funding you need.