USDA Now Accepting Applications for Placemaking Cooperative Agreements to Spur Economic Growth & Community Development in Rural America
Written by Caleb Nelson on July 6, 2022
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small has announced the USDA will now accept applications for cooperative agreements to help eligible entities provide planning, training, and technical assistance to foster placemaking activities in rural and Tribal communities.
Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC) is making the funds available. The USDA plans to increase RPIC funding to upwards of $4 million in order to assist more rural communities with “access placemaking assistance.” Previous funding levels were around $3 million dollars.
The USDA encourages eligible entities to apply for up to “$250,000” to help rural and Tribal communities create plans to enhance capacity for “high-speed interest access; preserve cultural and historic structures; and support development in transportation, housing, and recreational spaces,” a recent press release states.
This technical assistance, the USDA suggests, will help communities convene partners and identify community needs to develop placemaking plans. “These plans will help rural areas build back better and stronger,” the USDA explains. The entities must support participating rural communities for up to two years.
The Department is looking for partners with at least one entity in the “Northeast, South, Midwest, and West” regions of the United States. Public or private groups, organizations or institutions that demonstrate experience in providing placemaking technical assistance and administering federal are encouraged (and eligible) to apply.
To help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and combat climate change, the USDA is offering priority points to projects that advance key priorities. These extra points will increase the likelihood of funding for projects that will advance these key priorities in rural America.
The USDA is seeking applicants who will serve communities participating in the Rural Partner’s Network. USDA also encourages applications that support communities planning projects that enhance the capacity to build high-speed internet infrastructure, including investments under USDA’s ReConnect program.
Electronic applications must be submitted via grants.gov by Aug. 15, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time / 9:59 Mountain Time.
USDA will host an informational webinar for applicants on July 13, 2022, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time / noon to 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time. To register, folks can click here.