So many projects in today’s society aren’t attainable without the large amounts of money necessary for proper construction, planning and maintenance.

So many projects in today’s society aren’t attainable without the large amounts of money necessary for proper construction, planning and maintenance.

Projects like sewer systems, water towers, street maintenance, drainage, new buildings and other renovations wouldn’t be possible without state and federal grants, but more importantly without the agency responsible for putting those grant applications together for future approval.

The Northwest Missouri Regional Council of Governments located in Maryville, and serving 42 towns in Nodaway, Worth, Atchison, Holt and Gentry counties, works in putting together those grants. Every year city and counties apply for various grants with the help of the Regional Council. Grants, like the recent grant allocated to the Children & Family Center of Northwest Missouri, have to be applied for through a city or county entity. As a non-profit agency, the center applied through the city of Maryville and was awarded a Community Development Block Grant worth $300,000.

The Regional Council can have as many as 12 different grant projects going at once, as many of them are in various stages. The recent grant awarded to the Children & Family Center will take up to 60 days for use due to an environmental assessment report that must be done prior to the project’s start. This environmental review, as with all projects, requires many state agencies – such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), among many others – to complete reports and give their opinions on project changes, etc.

Tye Parsons, executive director of the Regional Council, along with several other employees, help applicants write the grants, and complete anything else needed to properly turn in a grant.

"If you turn four grants in and get approval on two of them," he said. "You're sitting pretty good."

Along with the recent money allocated to the Children & Family Center, the Union Township Fire Department also received a CDBG grant for $128,500 to go toward the construction of a new fire station.

Right now there are four more grants waiting for response from the state. Those grants are:

• City of Watson (Atchison County) — streets and drainage

• Cit of Elmo (Nodaway) — drainage

• Nodaway County — Courthouse elevator

• City of Pickering — streets and drainage

Because these various grants differ in rotation and deadline dates, the Regional Council of Governments receives approval on differing dates.

Jerri Dearmont, administrative secretary and grant administrator of the Regional Council, said the entire grant system takes months to complete. The applicant prepares an application, and then there is a public hearing where citizens can voice their opinions and concerns about projects. At the public hearing, there is a needs assessment taken to ensure that is what the county or city really needs. Once that process is completed, staff members write the grant and wait to hear back from the state.

Many grants are allocated on the basis the applicant can match a grant, and put up a certain percentage of their own money toward the project.

When it comes to grants like water and waste water, those projects are selected by the state. The entities send in a pre-application, Dearmont said.

She said the various state departments like DNR, CDBG and Rural Development sit down once a month to take a look at all of the pre-applications.

A big part of what can stop a project from occurring is based on historical preservation. SHPO always has to make sure there are no historical properties, Dearmont said. Anything that needs changed on a project has to first go through those kinds of agencies, to ensure that there won't be an historical significance lost to a property.

Primary sources of funding for grants come from:

• Community Development Block Grant — administered by the Department of Economic Development, provides grants and loan funds to cities with a population under 50,000 and counties under 200,000, to assist in a variety of public works and economic development projects.

• USDA, Rural Development — U.S Dept. of Agriculture, offers a wide range of grant and loan programs to assist non-urban communities with various development projects, including community buildings, alert sirens and economic development initiatives.

• Economic Development Administration — available to rural and urban areas of the nation experiencing high unemployment, low income or other severe economic distress.

• Missouri Public Utility Alliance — offers a range of services and programs, some are free others are fee based.

• Messick Foundation — to assist a variety of charitable organizations operating for the benefit of the residents of Andrew County or any adjacent county.

• Environmental Protection Agency — to protect human health and the environment.

For more information on services the Northwest Missouri Regional Council of Governments offers visit www.nwmorcog.org or call (660) 582-5121.