RULE 213.00.10-002 - Wildlife Recreation Facilities Grant Program (WRFGP) - To set grant criteria, application forms, and instructions for applications

RULE 213.00.10-002. Wildlife Recreation Facilities Grant Program (WRFGP) - To set grant criteria, application forms, and instructions for applications

Arkansas Rural Development Commission and The Department of Rural Services

The Department of Rural Services (DRS, formerly the Office of Rural Advocacy) is a state agency charged with assisting rural communities with a population of 20,000 and under. Established under Act 302 of 1991, DRS assists local agencies in rural areas with information and technical assistance. Currently, more than 80% of Arkansans live in rural areas.

The Arkansas Rural Development Commission (ARDC) is a group of citizens from around rural Arkansas charged with overseeing the programs of DRS. Seven of its members are appointed by the Governor, two are appointed by the Senate President Pro-Tern, and two are appointed by the Speaker of the House. Commissioners serve five-year terms, and meet throughout the year to discuss rural issues that affect Arkansans.

The mission of these two groups is to "Enhance the quality of life in rural Arkansas."

One focus of the agency is to be a source of information for rural citizens and provide support services to rural communities. DRS publishes a bi-annual newsletter that covers rural policies and topics. The agency also hosts an annual conference and local forums around the state throughout the course of the year.

For information about the other DRS grant programs visit our website at www.arkansas.gov/drs or call 1-888-787 -2527.

In Cooperation with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas Department of Rural Services are cooperating to ignite interest in the natural, cultural, and scenic beauty, fish, wildlife and other natural resources of Arkansas and to promote economic development in a healthy and environmentally sound manner.

Definitions

For the purpose of this regulation, unless otherwise stated herein, the following definitions apply:

* "ARDC" means the Arkansas Rural Development Commission

* "Commission" means the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

* "Department" means the Arkansas Department of Rural Services

* "Grantee" means an entity which has been awarded a grant under this program

* "Program" means the Wildlife Recreation Facilities Program

* "Rural Area" means any area within the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more persons

General Information and Eligibility

Through the Wildlife Recreation Facilities Grant, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Arkansas Rural Development Commission (ARDC) and the Department of Rural Services strive to ignite interest in the scenic beauty and nature known to Arkansas. The Wildlife Recreation Facilities Grant will assist rural communities with the development and improvement of these wildlife recreation facilities.

Incorporated cities and towns and unincorporated communities in RURAL areas of less than 20,000 in population (verifiable by current U.S. Census information) are eligible to apply for assistance through the Wildlife Recreation Facilities Grant. In keeping with our enabling legislation, a rural area is defined, for the purpose of this program, as "all the territory of the State of Arkansas that is not within the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20.000 or more according to the latest federal census or within such a city's or town's neighboring urbanized areas."

What Type of Projects and Costs are Eligible?

(A) Projects eligible for funding consideration under the Wildlife Recreation Facilities Grant include, but are not limited to the construction or renovation of the following facilities that are specifically designed to encourage and enhance the ability of the general public to participate in wildlife recreation activities:

* Community fishing ponds;

* Firing ranges;

* Fishing access areas;

* Fishing piers;

* Archery ranges;

* Fish cleaning stations;

* Canoe or boat launches;

* Observation platforms and blinds.

(B) Costs eligible for grant funding include, but are not limited to:

* Materials for construction;

* Labor directly related to the construction of the proposed project;

* Interpretive or directional signage directly related to the proposed project;

* Design fees;

* Parking, sidewalks, and other access construction directly related to the proposed project.

Note: If you are not positive that your project is eligible, please call and speak to a Grants Coordinator at 1-888-787 -2527

What Type of Projects and Costs are Ineligible?

Projects and costs that are NOT eligible for funding through this program include, but again are not limited to:

* Land acquisition, whether by purchase of fee title, rights-of-way, easements, or payment of leases, rents, permit fees or other land-use related fees or costs;

* Purchase of construction equipment or tools;

* Books, publications, or brochures;

* Advertising fees or materials;

* Website development;

* Salaries, direct or indirect employee costs, or any other payroll-related expenses that are not directly related to the construction of the proposed project;

* Interpretive programs;

* Payment of public utilities;

* Purchase of personal athletic equipment;

* Projects which provide private or selected patronage;

* Planting or establishment of gardens or row-crop agriculture;

* Irrigation equipment;

* Playground equipment;

* Construction of fairgrounds or rodeo facilities;

* Costs of normal operation or maintenance;

* Debt service;

* Legal fees;

* Training or travel expenses;

* Reimbursement of expenses or costs related to facilities already constructed.

Limitation on Certain Costs

* Costs associated with design fees, including engineering or architect fees, shall not exceed more than ten percent of the total amount of requested grants funds.

* Costs associated with amenities, such as parking, restrooms, sidewalks, benches, interpretive signs, trash receptacles, etc. shall not exceed more than twenty percent of the total amount of requested grants funds.

* The Department may allow more than twenty percent of grant funds to be used on a proposed project for parking areas or restrooms for fishing accesses or boat launches, or where paved access of reasonable length to an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant wildlife recreation structure is desirable or required.

Funding Availability

Applicants with an eligible project may apply for up to $100,000 in state funds toward a single project. Grants funded by the program are paid directly from the Commission's Game Protection Fund.

Preferential Consideration

When designating which projects will be selected for funding, the Department may give more consideration to projects that:

* Have particular appeal to youth for optimal wildlife-oriented recreation

* Provide direct access for hunting, fishing, or wildlife-associated activities

* Have commitments from other parties or the applicant to provide additional cash for the project

* Have site preparations made prior to making an application

* Can specifically document written commitments of volunteer labor or material donations for the project

* Include additional items of public support, such as resolutions from neighboring municipalities or letter of support from government officials

* Meet accessibility guidelines under the Americans With Disabilities Act

Negative Consideration

When designating which projects will be selected for funding, the Department may give less consideration to projects that:

* Have received funding from the program within the last five fiscal years

* Are contingent on the actions or inactions of entities other than the applicant or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of events beyond the applicants control

* Are submitted by applicants with poor records of maintenance and operation on prior construction projects using funds from this or any other grant program administered by the Department

No Consideration

* The Department will only consider applications which are timely and administratively complete.

* New applications from previously awarded communities that have not received certificates of completion or have failed to return close out documentation for a previous grant will not be considered. You are not eligible for Wildlife Recreation Facilities Grant if you are applying for a Wildlife Observation Trail Grant through the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Application Process

WHEN can we apply?

The deadline for Wildlife Recreation Facilities Grant of fiscal year 2011 is March 18, 2011. If there are any funds left over after one grant cycle, DRS may announce a second grant cycle to disperse the remaining funds. All applications must be received or postmarked by 4:30 p.m. on the day of the deadline or they will not be accepted. Faxes of applications will not be accepted.

SUBMITTING an Application

Applicants must gain the approval of their local governing body and the application must be signed by the county judge or mayor who will be ultimately responsible for the grant should it be received. If you are incorporated, you must apply through your mayor. If you are unincorporated, you must apply through the county judge. This process includes completion of the application form and presentation of it to the local council if applying through the city or quorum court if applying through the county. The local governing official (county judge or mayor) must affix his signature to the following documents for the application to be considered complete:

* certification letter

* resolution

* application

Applicants must submit an original application with original signatures plus 2 copies.

Application Review

Applications are numbered and inspected for completeness and eligibility in the order received by the Department of Rural Services. Individual proposal consultations can be arranged with staff by appointment. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications well before the deadline to allow DRS staff to thoroughly review the application and assist applicants in correcting any deficiencies prior to the deadline.

Applications received postmarked after the deadline date will not be eligible for consideration.

After staff reviews the applications for completeness and eligibility, recommendations will be taken to the Arkansas Rural Development Commission for approval. Following approval from ARDC, recommended applications will be presented to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for final approval.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will contact the awarded applicants. After being notified by the Commission that a grant has been awarded all contact and any questions should be with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission regarding the next stages in the proposed project.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

2 Natural Resources Drive

Little Rock, AR 72205

Toll Free: 1-800-365 -4263

Documents Needed for a Complete Grant

In addition to the grant application with all questions answered fully, communities must include the following in order for the application to be complete:

* A signed Certification Letter, enclosed with application, from the local governing official (mayor for incorporated areas, county judge for unincorporated areas).

* A Resolution passed by the city council (for incorporated areas) or the quorum court (for unincorporated areas) enclosed with application. The Resolution must have the may or/county judge's signature, and the signature of the city/county clerk.

* Backup documentation for ALL items listed in the project cost estimate. This includes written professional estimates for all items the applicant is purchasing or receiving through donation.

* A deed, title, or other instrument showing proof of public ownership. This may include an intent to donate letter from a private individual or a lease that extends for 10 years or more.

* A commitment to open the facility to public use. Also a commitment by a city, county or state agency to maintain and operate the project for a minimum period of ten years.

* A Preliminary site plan. Including the approximate dimensions and design of proposed facilities, the location of any amenities, and proper marking and signage.

* Location Map. An 8.5 x 11 map showing the county in which the project lies and its relation to the nearest municipality.

* Items of public support. This means that you must have a letter of support from your local governing State Senator AND State Representative. These two letters are required but a community could include support letters for the project from members of the community as well.

THINGS TO REMEMBER!!!!!

* Use only paper clips or binder clips. Fancy binding is unnecessary and will be removed.

* Type the application.

* Apply for only what is needed. Total project costs do not have to equal $100,000.

* Put everything on the checklist in order and label all backup documentation clearly.

* Include documentation of public support from your State Senator AND State Representative.

* If a community has a RCGP (Rural Community Grant Program), RSBG (Rural Services Block Grant Program) or GIF (General Improvement Fund Grant Program) open and the grant is in good standing, the community can still apply for Wildlife Recreation Facilities Grant funds. However, a community can only apply for one Wildlife Recreation Facilities Grant per cycle.

* Countywide applications must show that the project will affect rural communities.

* An application for a project on land owned and operated solely by a private organization is not eligible for funding. In order to be eligible, the land must be owned or have a lease agreement for 10 years or more with the city, municipality, county, non-profit, or state agency.

* The grants may not be used to reimburse any part of the project already purchased or constructed. No part of the project that you are applying for can be started until the community has received their grant check.

Questions about the grant program?

Not sure if your project is eligible?

Need to ask about the application process?

Give us a call toll-free at 1-888-RURAL-AR

Write us at:

101 East Capitol, Suite 202

Little Rock, AR 72201

Or e-mail us at:

Rural. Arkansas@arkansas.gov

CHECKLIST FOR A COMPLETE Wildlife Recreation Facilities Grant APPLICATION

In addition to the grant application, communities must include the following in order for the application to be complete. Failure to submit any of the required documents by the cycle deadline will result in an incomplete application and will not be reviewed by the Arkansas Rural Development Commission for grant consideration. Please use this sheet to double check that all required information is submitted.

[TICK] Signed Certification Letter (enclosed with application) from the local governing official (mayor for incorporated areas, county judge for unincorporated areas).

[TICK] Certification Letter has current calendar year date on it.

[TICK] Resolution passed by the city council (for incorporated areas) or the quorum court (for unincorporated areas) and signed by the mayor/county judge and the city/county clerk.

[TICK] Resolution is notarized by the local governing official and city/county clerk.

[TICK] Resolution is numbered and has current calendar year date on it.

[TICK] A deed, title, or other instrument showing proof of public ownership is included. This may include an intent to donate letter from a private individual or a lease that extends for 10 years or more. Public ownership is defined as owned or leased for 10 years or more with the non-profit, state agency, city, municipality, or county.

[TICK] A preliminary site plan

[TICK] A location map (8.5 x 11)

[TICK] Items of public input support included. This must include letters of support from the community's local governing State Senator and State Representative.

[TICK] Backup documentation for ALL items listed in the project cost estimate. This includes written professional estimates for all items the applicant is purchasing and letters of intent to donate all materials and labor being donated.

[TICK] The original grant is mailed PLUS two copies.

[TICK] The application must be typed.

(10/20/2010)

The following state regulations pages link to this page.