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County grants new life to application process

PORT ORCHARD — The Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Department has streamlined its grant application process, looking to get a greater return from the grants it intends to pursue.

“We missed the last grant cycle, so we haven’t had this money coming in,” said Department Director Chip Faver. “We missed the opportunity to get funded. This left us with a four-year gap.

“When this cycle began we decided to apply for the grants that would do us the most good,” he said. “So we developed a grant-positioning strategy and put all of the information in the same place.”

As a result, Faver gathered his staff and consultants in February to determine which grants would benefit the county and which ones it stood a chance of winning.

Following this process, the committee came up with about 15 possibilities where applications will be made.

The total value of the grants is $8.1 million. It would require $3.1 million in matching funds.

Faver said the county would be able to raise the money needed to match any grants it wins.

“If we get six to eight of these grants, we will have done very well,” Faver said. “And it will still represent a huge amount of work.”

Grants are available in three categories — acquisition, planning and development. Faver said the county has done very well in the acquisition of property, pushing all grants into the other two categories.

While there is a sense of applying for what they can get, Faver said it was important to develop a workable time line.

“The great thing about planning grants is they don’t require matching funds up front,” he said. “Applying for planning grants before development begins is the most efficient way to do things. To have a development project without planning is the most inefficient way.”

Faver said the guiding mantras for his department are “Do it right instead of doing it fast,” and “Leave it better than you found it.”

Two of the possible projects are the construction of a pier at Norwegian Point Park in Hansville that would allow visiting boats to park for short intervals while visiting the park and the purchase of a working farm that would double as an agricultural museum.

“By purchasing a working farm and allowing the owner to continue its operation would help us to preserve our agricultural past,” he said. “This is a disappearing asset, which is a big part of our history.”

Faver said grant money could be used to build trails, both for hiking and off-road activity.

Applications for 11 of the 15 targeted grants are due May 1.

While submitting proposals is a complicated process, Faver said his department has the staff and resources to accomplish this in a cost-effective way.

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