EPA Grant Will Support Smart Growth Technical Assistance

Envision Minnesota to use grant to promote economic development,
enhance livability

Thanks to a generous grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Envision Minnesota (formerly 1,000 Friends of Minnesota) and a consortium of partners—Cascade Land Conservancy (Seattle, WA), Greenbelt Alliance (San Francisco, CA), and the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance—will expand their work with local and regional governments, increasing their capacity to implement innovative plans, projects and policies that protect the environment, encourage economic prosperity, improve public health outcomes and overall quality of life.

This project is funded by US EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities under their Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program. The Building Blocks program funds quick, targeted assistance to communities that face common development problems. Three other nonprofit organizations have received competitively awarded grants under this program this year to help communities get the kinds of development they want: Global Green USA, Project for Public Spaces and Smart Growth America.

The consortium will receive approximately $365,000 in the first year to provide smart growth technical assistance in their respective regions. If fully funded, this award would allow the consortium to provide nearly $2 million of technical assistance over a five-year period to 80-140 communities.

“The timing couldn’t be better for this new opportunity,” said Sally Wakefield, executive director of Envision Minnesota. “The real estate market and regional growth projections are dramatically different from what they were just five years ago. Many communities want to change from the status-quo but lack the tools to get there. This grant can help them get ahead of the curve and build, and rebuild, communities that are prosperous, affordable, and sustainable.”

This technical assistance grant builds upon Envision Minnesota’s experience providing tools and resources to communities to create safer streets, preserve and enhance their natural areas, and collaborate more effectively with their neighbors. The tools developed by Envision Minnesota will promote economic development and enhance the livability of neighborhoods.

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