Grant Programs Bring Resources to the City of Smithville
The City of Smithville’s Grants Program seeks to stretch your tax dollars even further by finding external funding to pay for equipment, services and programs that help City departments better serve the community. Since 2009, the City of Smithville has been awarded over $15 million dollars in grant funding for projects. For more information about the Grant Programs and Projects that the City of Smithville has been awarded, see the 2023 Grant Workshop Presentation.
- Road/Sidewalk Projects: Safe Routes to School provided funds for sidewalks and programs related to keeping youth safe and healthy, encouraging them to walk to school and use the sidewalks built on SW 4th Avenue and Washington, and from Bluebonnet Circle to McSweeney (awarded in 2010; construction completed in 2013; “Walk to School Wednesday” programming continues monthly throughout the school year). As part of this program, the Safe Routes to School Sidewalk Plan was developed with intensive community involvement and participation. Funds have also been awarded for the SH95 Study that will provide a middle turn lane and sidewalks from the Senior High School to Loop 230 (this project has been postponed but is still in the State Transportation Imptovement Plan). To date, over $4.5 million has been invested in sidewalk infradtructure, improving the quality of life here especially for the many people who cannot drive. The Google sidewalk map shows where they have been built and where they are planned.
- Other Infrastructure Projects: Community Development Block Grant funds have been used to improve the municipal well at the Dorothy Nichols’ Plant (coordinated through Langford Community Management Services); Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) funding has been used for a windmill at the Willows Wastewater Treatment Plant and for solar panels on the roof of City Hall; at the Recycling Center (which was initially constructed through grant funds in about 1992), funds from the Capital Area Council of Government’s Solid Waste Program have paid for a roof and cement pad at the plastic station to help keep citizens and workers out of the sun and rain, new construction, sognage, and for a scale so that public works crews can get an accurate weight on recycled materials. This program also has paid for a “Recycling in the Schools” program, the 2013 Household Hazardous Waste event and an informational campaign (including PSAs created by SISD students and the Keep Bastrop County Beautiful Guide), and the Bastrop County Household Hazardous Waste Facility located in Smithville. This facility is a regional partnership between Bastrop County, the City of Smithville, the City of Bastrop, and Lee County.
- Economic Development Projects: A $1 million grant awarded from the Economic Development Agency (part of the US Department of Commerce) is providing water and wastewater infrastructure to the Industrial Park Triangle at SH 95 and Hwy 71 across from the Crawford Municipal Airport with expectations that businesses will be attracted to this location due to its proximity to great transportation options. The Texas Commission on the Arts designated Smithville as a Cultural District in 2013. Since then, the Smithville Cultural District has received grant funds to pay for signage, website development, and programming. In 2020, the City and Chamber were jointly awarded a pilot program grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to look into economic development trends and opportunities -- Smithville was only one of two Central Texas communities that recieved this award. This grant culmiated in the Economic Development Community Resiliency Strategic Plan for 2020-2025, through which two committees were immediately coordinated, despite the difficulties presented by COVID. Subsequently, an UPDATE TO THE PLAN was provided to City Council and to the Chamber Board. Because of the nature of the pilot program, Smithville was automatically eligible for the Implementation Grant dollars from the TDA, and was awarded a $1M grant to support the Workforce Training Center and facade dollars for local businesses.
- Smithville Police Department: Various grants have been awarded to the Smithville Police Department for equipment like computers, body-worn cameras and digital hand-held cameras, LIDAR (laser RADAR) units and RADAR trailer, bullet-proof vests, bullet-resistent shields, and radios. In 2015, the Smithville Police Department was awarded the COPS Grant, which paid for part of the salary of an additional officer over a four-year grant period, to ensure that an officer is dedicated to work within the community to find ways of solving problems together. The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Community Development Partnership Program grant also paid to put AEDs and first aid stations in all city buildings, as well as police cars and public works and PARD trucks.
- Smithville Volunteer Fire Department: Grants have funded equipment and programming for the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department including an all-terrain vehicle (shared with the Police Department), hoses, training, gear, and a brush truck. FEMA grants have reimbursed the SVFD for most of its losses from recent disasters. The Independent Insurer’s Association of Texas (IIAT) paid to replace hoses damaged by the 2011 Bastrop County Complex Fire and for smoke detectors and one-shot fire extinguishers for residents and business owners who attended prevention and preparedness workshops in 2015 and 2016.
- Smithville Public Library: Funding for the Smithville Public Library has been steady and constant over the past several years from Bastrop County, the Union Pacific Foundation, the Tocker Foundation, the St. David's Foundation, and the American Library Association for library programming including the Summer Reading Program, Little Bookworms / Bookworms in the Park, Libraries 4 Health, and a host of other programming. Additionally, the Library often works in collaboration with the Smithville Independent School District to bring opportunities to students that would not normally exist. In particular, Bridging Cultures and Loleta D. Fyan grants have brought scholars to the high school to give students a taste of what college is like, and the “StoryCorps @ your library” equipment has been used for interviews with local visual artists, performers, and writers to help build knowledge and empathy about the use of the Humanities in their personal futures. Grants have supported literacy programs. English as a Second Language, Spanish as a Second Language programming, and a wide variety of training programs. Grant funding has also paid for shelving, computers and other needed equipment. And grant funding has paid for Butterfly Gardens for Little Bookworms. Dollar General, the Native Plant Society of Texas, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and many others have supported Library programming and projects.
- Parks and Recreation Department: Grant funds from the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Community Development Partnership Program and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative have supported the Skate Park, Riverbend Park, and the Veterans Memorial Park. FEMA GLO funds have been designated to upgrade the bathrooms and to add capacity to the Recreation Center to help it serve its function as an Emergency Evacuation Shelter. Union Pacific Foundation grants have paid for improvements at the Railroad Park including replacing the landing material under the playscape with ADA approved material and for surveillance at the historic railroad cars.
- Community Development: The HOME grant has been used to date to tear down and rebuild 15 homes in Smithville for lower-income families who needed a lot of help to make sure their living conditions are up to code and beautiful (this program is coordinated through Langford Community Management Services). In 2010, the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) awarded a grant that began the Smithville Green EXPO, which has been sustained through sponsorships ever since. The EXPO began through the Summit Smithville public involvement process and has been used to bring in speakers and exhibitors who can discuss renewable energy, water issues, recycling and zero waste programming and so on for our rural context, and created “Working Papers” on the potential for training programs and future projects that could further the City’s efforts in sustainability. The Texas Commission on the Arts designated Smithville one of a handful of “Cultural Districts” in 2013, and has since funded a variety of grant requests to help improve and market the Richard D. Latham Cultural District and provide funds for a variety of programs.
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The extended Burn Ban Order approved in Commissioners Court on 9/11/2023. The extended Order will go into effect on, September 14, 2023, at 5:00 PM, and...read more >