The city of Green Lake took a step closer last week to having its own grant administrator.
The Parks & Recreation Board agreed, recommending that the Common Council approve a proposal from Green Lake resident Robin Wallenfang.
Wallenfang proposed a six-month, 80-hour-a-month contract that would cost $ 3,000 a month. It would also allow for a possible extension of the contract after six months and allow the grant administrator to subscribe to grant writing software for an annual fee of $ 199.
She researched and wrote scholarships, reported on progress, and wrote follow-up reports. Grant applications are provided with progress reports and follow-up reports regardless of the end of the contract.
Wallefang gave a presentation to the Park & ââRec Board about her previous experience with applying for grants and managing them.
She described applying for six different scholarships in Wisconsin, California, and Arizona that date back to the 1980s and into 2020.
âEach of these grants is different; there is no formula, âsaid Wallenfang. âSome are easy; some are extremely complicated, especially the state ones. “
She added that the city shouldn’t try to compete for grants with local nonprofits.
“Our mission here should be to support a variety of age groups and income levels with all-encompassing benefits for the communities in which we live,” said Wallenfang.
The first funding opportunity Wallenfang wants to consider is the community development investment grant from Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., which supports small town redevelopment efforts for shovel-ready projects in downtown-fueled efforts.
“My service as a council member for 7 years, council president for several years and a member of the planning commission give me the opportunity to safely offer my services as a grant administrator,” added Wallenfang.
Ald. Jon McConnell, chairman of the Park & ââRec Board, said the city is considering the option of hiring a grant administrator as it is interested in applying for grants to help upgrade sports field lighting.
If the Joint Council agrees with the Park & ââRec Board’s recommendation, the grant administrator would primarily seek grants for parks and recreation during the first term of the contract.
If the contract is renewed by the city, the role of the grant administrator can be expanded to include finding grants for public works and economic development.
Public works director Jason Carley said grant funds could be used for roads, sewage and water.
“It might make up for some of the cost,” he said. â… The approval process is kind of endless. It can go in any direction you want to take. “
Similarly, McConnell noted, “There is also a chance the Economic Development Committee may take advantage of this.”
Elaine Houser, an advisor to the Park and Rec Board, said the city needs to prioritize what types of grants to get.
She recommended that the city appoint a grant administrator sooner rather than later.
“The longer you wait, you’ve missed opportunities,” said Houser. “… We currently have projects that we know we can get grants from.”
Park & ââRec board member Evelyn Galster also spoke out in favor of engaging Wallenfang as grant administrator.
“You have to spend money to make money,” said Galster. âWhy wouldn’t you take advantage of these opportunities? There are deadlines and grants are difficult. So if money is available, I think I would move forward. “
While the Park and Rec Board made a recommendation to the Common Council, McConnell added that the contract must be approved by City Attorney Dan Sondalle and the council before it can go into effect.