Sometimes the public is focused solely on the large grant money that comes in the form of a state or federal government check and buys big items or fixes up things in a big way. We’d like to point out that small units of government appreciate it when they are rewarded with state or federal grant money, too.

Take Menominee Township for instance. The township recently was awarded $44,200 to help it improve the township park, which happens to be an overall project of $59,000. The township government will contribute about $14,800 for the project, or about 25 percent. Sounds like a good deal to us in favor of the township.

The total pot of money will be used to construct a pavilion and make other improvements at the park. The township’s planning commission played a vital role in the grant application. The funds will come from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Recreation Passport Group, which is funneled through the Michigan Recreation Passport funding mechanism.

Grant applications are tedious and painstaking. Obviously, grant-funding programs can’t please the scads of applicants who are seeking financial aid. It is important to have someone who is skilled in writing such documents to be in charge of the process. Patience is another important step when waiting for a reply.

According to Judy Bright, a member of the Township Planning Commission, local officials had been researching the grant program since 2017. The Menominee Township Board approved a resolution to apply for the grant funds on Jan. 24, 2018, and it wasn’t submitted to the state agency until March 31, two months later. In August (2018) the grant coordinator visited the Upper Peninsula to review all of the proposed projects in pursuit of the funds. There are other hoops to jump through before an application is approved.

“The DNA put a lot of rules and regulations in place that we must follow,” Bright noted.

Frankly, grant money is extremely competitive. In this case, 68 entities submitted applications and only 15 were approved. Even after the application is approved the DNA has rules and regulations in place that recipients must follow. One of the requirements is accessibility for people in wheelchairs and those with other disabilities.

According to Bright, township officials are hoping to have the park improvement project completed by the end of the year.

Here’s a toast to Menominee Township officials, the DNR and its related entities for their attentiveness to detail in working through the difficult process to achieve the results to be enjoyed by Menominee Township residents and their guests.