The city of Paducah is once again accepting applications for its Grant-in-Aid program that supports local nonprofit organizations.

Nonprofit agencies within Paducah city limits have until March 31 to apply for Fiscal Year 2022 funding through the Grant-in-Aid program, the city stated. Interested agencies are encouraged to attend a virtual workshop to review the application process. It’s scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb. 26.

“It just creates a competitive process for organizations in the community to apply for funding to be able to provide community programming,” City Manager Jim Arndt told The Sun. “We want to make sure that the organizations in our community are aware of it and they’re encouraged to apply for assistance.”

The categories are: Quality of Life grant — eligible for nonprofits that provide programs or projects that benefit quality of life for residents; Quality of Life micro-grant — grant request limited to $5,000 or less; and Catalyst grant — eligible for nonprofits that want to start a new program or project that requires financial support to “start or expedite the process.”

It had five categories last year, including the Core Services grant (eligible recipients that provide a municipal service that meets needs of the city, including transportation and parks and recreation) and the Board of Commissioners Advocacy grant.

Arndt noted that was the program’s first year.

“After the program was over, as we talked with the previous commission about, we wanted to give it a chance to evaluate the success of the program. What worked? What didn’t work?” he said.

He added that they came to figure out the Core Services grant is “ingrained” and something it does annually anyway.

“They’ll go back to the way it was before the grant program, where they just basically let us know how much money they’re needing for the year and we try to get them close to what that dollar amount is,” Arndt said.

“Most of those agencies get funded regularly at the same dollar amount. It didn’t change last year with the Grant-in-Aid program, so it was like, we’re doing them a disservice by making them jump through an extra hurdle when we’re going to fund them anyway because they’re just an extension of the city.”

The advocacy grant was also eliminated, which was for eligible recipients selected by the commission to receive Grant-in-Aid funding and weren’t selected by the review panel.

“What we ran into last year was the amount of requests that we have — far exceeded the money we have available, so there’s no real room,” he said. “We give out all we can.”

In September 2020, the city commission approved a list of 20 agencies receiving Grant-in-Aid funding for fiscal 2021. Dozens of agencies were considered for funding that totaled $622,500, according to the city’s website.

The recipients were: Barkley Regional Airport, $120,000; Brooks Stadium, $7,500; Carson Center, $54,000; Community Kitchen, $4,500; Hotel Metropolitan, $2,500; Maiden Alley Cinema, $5,000; Market House Theatre, $12,300; Midtown Alliance of Neighbors, $15,000; National Quilt Museum, $11,900; Oscar Cross Boys & Girls Club, $4,100; Paducah Area Transit System, $215,000; Paducah Civic Beautification Board, $3,000; Paducah Symphony Orchestra, $13,500; Paxton Park Golf Course, $75,000; Quilt Show, $15,000; River Discovery Center, $4,000; Sprocket, $40,000; Tornado League Football, $2,000; W.C. Young Community Center, $1,100; and Yeiser Art Center, $17,100.

The Sun reached out to Midtown Alliance of Neighbors and Brooks Stadium about how the city’s grant funding assists them.

Sharon Poat, executive director for Midtown Alliance of Neighbors, explained the funds are important for operations, and it’s “helpful” to have whatever amount the city can assist with. It plans to apply again for fiscal 2022.

It has programs to assist existing homeowners and new homebuyers, and it’s currently working to build three shotgun-style homes across from the Pat & Jim Brockenborough Rotary Health Park. She hopes to have them done sometime this summer.

“They are going fine,” Poat said, on the project.

“I’ve been waiting for a while for our framer to get there. Of course, the bad weather for the last two weeks have held him off. He’s supposed to be there as soon as things dry out early next week.”

Frank “Doc” Hideg, president of the Brooks Stadium Commission, shared that funds are used to maintain the stadium and keep the field safe for youth to play baseball, and for the Paducah Chiefs to play there. He also said it would be used for various methods and solutions to prevent contact with any virus.

“It’s considered one of the best baseball fields in Kentucky to play on,” Hideg said. “The fans enjoy the stadium atmosphere and the atmosphere that was there when Mr. (Polk) Brooks originally built it.”

As for fiscal 2022, communications manager Pam Spencer said the city doesn’t know yet how much Grant-in-Aid funding is available for the program, since the budget process “hasn’t started in earnest.”

“However, in April, we will have a number so that the internal committee can review applications and make recommendations,” she said.

Visit paducahky.gov for application guidelines, forms and the workshop’s Zoom link. Agencies are required to be 501c3 organizations. The city’s next fiscal year begins July 1.

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