Grants

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The Department of Rural Services helps preserve the rural values and way of life through a variety of grants.

Two such grants are the Rural Community Development Grant Program and the Rural Community Fire Protection Grant Program. Under these programs, the Department of Rural Services with assistance from the Arkansas Rural Development Commission fund projects such as baseball/softball fields, community parks, walking trails, community centers, fire stations, fire trucks and other fire protection related equipment. DRS accepts and funds applications three times each fiscal year. Our upcoming deadline of the Rural Community Grants is August 15, 2014.

In July 1999, DRS added two additional programs to assist rural communities. The first is the County Fair Building Grant Program. As we all know, the county fair is an integral part of life in rural Arkansas, but they need money to stay viable. The County Fair Building Program has been established to help meet some of these monetary needs. Fair associations located in counties with a population of 55,000 or less are eligible to apply for up to $4,000 per year under the program. Communities must provide 50% of the cost of the project as match to qualify for the grant. We strongly encourage all counties/county fair associations to apply. The FY15 deadline has already passed.

The second is the Rural Services Block Grant Program. The Rural Services Block Grant Program was established through a partnership with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Unlike the other DRS grant programs, the source of funding is federal dollars from Housing and Urban Development. Under the Block Grant, communities with a population of 3,000 or less and whose population is 51% low to moderate income are eligible to apply for grants. Applications for this grant program are currently available. The fiscal year's deadline is December 5, 2014.

Limitations

Projects NOT eligible for funding consideration under the Rural Community Development Grant Program, Rural Fire Protection Grant Program and Rural Block Grant Program include, but are not limited to:

  • municipal buildings (courthouses, city halls, police stations, sheriffs offices, and city or county jails)
  • cemetery and other facility fencing and maintenance
  • chatting and paving of driveways and parking lots
  • fairground and rodeo constructioln owned by incorporated associations (see DRS County Fair Building Grant Program for fairgournd projects only)
  • costs associated with normal day-to-day operations or maintenance
  • debt financing of any type (new or existing). Debt financing is defined for the purpose of this program as reimbursement of new or existing loans, loan payments, or reimbursement for equipment, facilities, labor, or property already purchased or constructed
  • training, travel, or other personnel related expenses
  • contingency fees
  • County health units
  • Schools
  • Transfer stations
  • Water projects
  • Emergency shelters
  • Elections
  • Private, non-profit associations