Community groups and residents in Grande Prairie can now submit applications for grants to start innovative and creative community improvement projects. The city is seeking out some new ideas for the Community Improvement Grant, consisting of one-time contributions of $2,500, or will match contributions of other organizations up to $5,000.

The larger grant is designed with more multi-phase projects in mind, though the same initiative will not be funded more than once. The smaller grant is geared more towards one-time initiatives and carries a prerequisite to not be a part of a multi-phase project.

Katie Biberdorf, Community Recreation Development Manager with the City of Grande Prairie, says the grant is a combination of three former grants that more or less carried the same criteria.

“We used to have a Neighbourhood Enhancement Grant, a Parks Improvement Grant and a Community Enhancement Grant, and it was very difficult for some of the community groups to navigate which grant they should apply for and when,” she explains. “We’ve combined them into one grant just to make it a one-stop shop for all community improvement.”

To be eligible for the grant, projects must provide an overall benefit to a neighbourhood community, involve a broad base of people to promote community development, and build community connections through the life of the project. They must also have a minimum lifespan of three years to allow for what the city considers at least enough time for the community to benefit from it.

Biberdorf says projects can range anywhere from sporting courts to beautification initiatives.

“They are very creative. On the neighbourhood association side, in particular, there are some that are very active and have done things like bee hotels and little libraries that people can come and take books out of,” she says. “Some of them come up with some really great ideas and things that we would have never even thought of.”

The deadline to apply is Thursday, October 1st. Applications have been made available through the City’s website.