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Thread: Grant ideas?

  1. #1
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    Grant ideas?

    Hi,

    I've been invited to apply for a grant for up to $5,000 from REI (Go REI!). The money is to be used to improve recreational opportunities at the nearby state park in Blue Mound, Wisconsin. The person with the granting authority has a tight deadline to work with, the proposal has to be submitted by July 14th.

    My connection with the park is that I maintain and build mountain bike trails. We're not certain to get the money, and may not even have our request passed along to REI if the Friends of the park come up with something better than I do.

    Our current situation is we have an approved project that just got under way. It's a 4.5 mile loop on the south side of the mound in an area that has lots of rock in sizes from sand to boulders the size of a semi-trailer. I've worked with a Ditch Witch SK500 in another, less rocky area of the park and had good results, but I have doubts that one would work as well in this new area. A really good way to use the grant money in this area would be to purchase wood for the construction of bridges to cross some seepage areas.

    There is another pressing need in the trails though. As part of the same weather event that put much of Iowa under water, southern Wisconsin also was hit with heavy rain. Some of our existing trails suffered substantial erosion in that downpour. I knew that there would be an issue with these trails long-term, but they took about 5-10 years of damage in one storm. My plans for the reroutes in the eroded areas are pretty nebulous at this stage.

    My question is kind of a bird-in-the-hand vs bush dilema: should I ask for support to work on the new area that I have fairly well developed plans for, or should I try to find a way to steer this toward fixing the eroded trail?

    How you could help: It would be a lot easier just to pay someone to work on the eroded trail section. But $5K might not be enough for a pro to come here. Plus I don't know any trail pros who work in south central Wisconsin. Any ideas?

    If the money is not enough to hire someone, that puts me back to allocating it toward supporting the new trail work. As I stated above, we could purchase bridging material. My other thought was power equipment. A mini-dozer probably won't work. But a power wheelbarrow might. I can think of several places we could put it to work building berms and switchbacks.

    We are pretty well equipped with hand tools.

    A blue sky sort of idea is to use the money to rent a mini-excavator. I'm aware that it's possible to really mess up with one. But I have a (possibly misplaced) confidence that I can teach myself to run one. I learned to use an SK 500 with no training, and the trails I built ( with help from a friend ) turned out nicely. These trails suffered virtually no erosion in the two rain deluge events this spring. We were careful to route the trails across the face of the slopes and it paid off.

    Walt

  2. #2
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    Do you have to have a completely fleshed out proposal by July 14th, or something less, such as a concept? If you could submit more than one concept, you might increase your odds of having them like one of the ideas. If you have to go with a more complete proposal, go with what you have the most complete plans on now.

    I like the idea of buying bridging material or a power wheel barrow, because both have long term impact. The bridges will stabilize the trails and solve the erosion problems; the wheel barrow would be useful on park projects for years to come. It's been my observation that folks issuing grants like it when the money gets leveraged.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Dizzy
    Hi,

    I've been invited to apply for a grant for up to $5,000 from REI (Go REI!). The

    Walt
    We did this last year to build our new MTB STXC Course here in Colorado Springs.

    I invited most of the LBS owners, including REI, and a local volunteer trail building organization to a meeting and proposed the trail plan. We already had a trail builder on-board so I knew the cost per foot of building the trail. For a complete contractor built trail, 2 miles, it was going to cost us @ $50,000.

    One of the LBS's owners offered up a challenge to the other bike shops to match her $2000 contribution. The local REI mgr asked us, the county parks dept., and the volunteer group to each apply for a $5000 grant. We both did and ended up with $10,000 from REI.

    On top of that a local running club gave us $7000 out of the blue. Before you know it we had $25,000 to hire the contractor. He ended up building about 1 mile of the most difficult trail and myself and volunteers completed the rest.

    We just completed our first MTB races on the trail and the turnout was awesome.

    Here is a link to the story and video.

    http://www.gazette.com/articles/race...ike_creek.html

    http://www.gazette.com/video/index.p...tid=1588531214

    I would say go for it. Maybe use the $5000 REI grant as your cash match for a larger grant from another organization or maybe even apply for an IMBA grant to supplement the REI grant.

    UT

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    Short notice, pants droopy

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    Do you have to have a completely fleshed out proposal by July 14th, or something less, such as a concept? If you could submit more than one concept, you might increase your odds of having them like one of the ideas. If you have to go with a more complete proposal, go with what you have the most complete plans on now.

    I like the idea of buying bridging material or a power wheel barrow, because both have long term impact. The bridges will stabilize the trails and solve the erosion problems; the wheel barrow would be useful on park projects for years to come. It's been my observation that folks issuing grants like it when the money gets leveraged.
    Harry,

    Agree that we need to propose something concrete and simple. Since the washouts are so new, we don't really have anything to show for a plan. Even more importantly, I will need to evaluate where re-routes make sense and where bridges will do a better job.

    There's another spot that really need some love. We have a badly washed out crossing that would do much better with a bridge than repairing it again with rocks. My guess is that the money won't be nearly enough, but I asked our friendly DNR park manager to make inquiries for us.

    It's looking more and more like a power wheelbarrow for our request.

    Walt

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    Wow!

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail

    I invited most of the LBS owners, including REI, and a local volunteer trail building organization to a meeting and proposed the trail plan. We already had a trail builder on-board so I knew the cost per foot of building the trail. For a complete contractor built trail, 2 miles, it was going to cost us @ $50,000.
    UT,

    Thanks for the figures. Gulp!

    That confirms my guess that we're pretty far away from having enough money to attract a proposal from a professional. If we ever figure out a way to raise that much money, I'll look again. Meanwhile I think we're stuck with coming up with a fast proposal that will make an actual difference, be an easy sell to the person evaluating it, and come closest to filling our most pressing needs.

    Seems like the economics of trail building are just completely different around here. We have several major bike companies, a partially tourist based economy, but the money tree is naked and whipped by the wind.

    Walt

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    I know the feeling. We're laying off 10 Parks employees, maybe even me, this week.... Volunteers, grants and donations are about all we have left to work with.

    One suggestion would be to use the REI grant to pay for a professional to design the trail. Ours cost about $0.30/ln.ft.. It will take a lot of the guesswork out of trailbuilding and the upside is a warranty on the design, plus it looks good when applying for the grant (50% completed design is the rule of thumb when applying for grants).

    My local trailbuilder charges about $3/ft for easy machine built trail and $5/ft for difficult terrain. We worked out a deal where he does the rough cut and volunteers do the finish work.

    Talk to Dave. www.trailarts.com

    UT

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    I'd take your $5K from REI and try to use it to match a larger RTP Grant that pays at an 80/20ratio. Throw in 500 volunteer hours @ $10/hour and you have another $5,000 worth of match.

    You can now ask for a $40,000 RTP grant with your $10,000 you have. The total project costs would be $50,000 with you paying 20% ($10K) and the RTP paying 80% ($40K).

    Get some donations from riders, local shops, do some fundraisers. For every $1 you raise, the RTP will put $4 toward your project.

    My SORBA chapter just raised $10,000 and did 500 volunteer hours for a total of $15,000. We got the USFS to appropiate $10,000 of their trail budget to help us match this grant. We totaled $25,000 in match, got a $100K RTP grant and put 9 miles on the ground with a contractor. We also paid for a new 30 car parking lot and signs for the entire 35 mile trail system we helped build since 2004.

    In a nutshell, I'd leverage the $5K to make it larger.

    Edit to add Wisonson RTP Contact info:

    WISCONSIN
    Diane Conklin, Manager
    Motorized Recreation Grant Programs
    Bureau of Community Financial Assistance
    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

    Street: 1341 2nd Avenue
    Cumberland WI 54829
    Mail: PO Box 397
    Cumberland WI 54829-0397

    715-635-4130; Fax 715-635-4105
    diane.conklin@wisconsin.gov

    Brigit Brown, State Trails Administrator
    Bureau of Parks & Recreation
    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

    Street: 101 South Webster St
    Madison WI 53707-7921
    Mail: PO Box 7921
    Madison WI 53707-7921

    608-266-2183; Fax 608-267-7474
    brigit.brown@wisconsin.gov

  8. #8
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    Best wishes

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail
    I know the feeling. We're laying off 10 Parks employees, maybe even me, this week.... Volunteers, grants and donations are about all we have left to work with.

    One suggestion would be to use the REI grant to pay for a professional to design the trail. Ours cost about $0.30/ln.ft.. It will take a lot of the guesswork out of trailbuilding and the upside is a warranty on the design, plus it looks good when applying for the grant (50% completed design is the rule of thumb when applying for grants).

    My local trailbuilder charges about $3/ft for easy machine built trail and $5/ft for difficult terrain. We worked out a deal where he does the rough cut and volunteers do the finish work.

    Talk to Dave. www.trailarts.com

    UT
    Hope you survive the layoffs UT!

    I like the rough cut idea. We will have to see if we can get someone interested.

    Not so much interest in the pro layout. I have confidence in my own work, hopefully not misplaced. I think that the small area with lots of boundary constraints we're working in will favor the many hours I've spent coming to an understanding of the land and how to fit a trail into it. I don't dispute that a pro's experience counts for a lot.

    If this opportunity had popped up 6 months ago I'd be thinking differently. But I spent most weekends from December through February out in the park putting the layout together. It's not just the time. The design fits together in a way that makes a kind of sense that I can't put into words.

    Perfect? No. Organic (meaning a unified whole)? Yes.

    FWIW I do have a successful design and build for a 4.5 mile loop at the other end of the same park. There are several things I would change, but I like how it turned out as do others. It stood up to the torrential rains this spring well, except that the streambeds are 1-4 feet lower than last fall. I can't take responsibility for that problem.

    Thanks,
    Walt

  9. #9
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    [QUOTE=seenvic]I'd take your $5K from REI and try to use it to match a larger RTP Grant that pays at an 80/20ratio. Throw in 500 volunteer hours @ $10/hour and you have another $5,000 worth of match.

    You can now ask for a $40,000 RTP grant with your $10,000 you have. The total project costs would be $50,000 with you paying 20% ($10K) and the RTP paying 80% ($40K).

    Get some donations from riders, local shops, do some fundraisers. For every $1 you raise, the RTP will put $4 toward your project.

    My SORBA chapter just raised $10,000 and did 500 volunteer hours for a total of $15,000. We got the USFS to appropiate $10,000 of their trail budget to help us match this grant. We totaled $25,000 in match, got a $100K RTP grant and put 9 miles on the ground with a contractor. We also paid for a new 30 car parking lot and signs for the entire 35 mile trail system we helped build since 2004.

    In a nutshell, I'd leverage the $5K to make it larger.

    Seenvic,

    There's a lot to digest in your post, thanks very much for the ideas and links.

    Your ideas seem sound, but we may not have enough time. We have received help from REI previouisly, and they were anxious to see results ASAP. I'm not sure if they would be willing to wait for work to start next spring with or without matching grants.

    I've been working my rear off for the last 7 months and I'm at a point where I really need a break. I'm an unpaid volunteer, and my reward is I get to ride more if I build it.

    If they can hold off for results, we may have something to talk about. But this may be too much to ask.

    I need to talk directly to the person administering the funds. Thanks for helping to put this into focus.

    Walt

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