Trimble Applying for Grant for Community, Education Improvements
OU is currently in the planning stage of the program. Professionals from the university are in communication with Trimble Township residents to collect and articulate ideas for community improvements. The written plan is due to the U.S. Department of Education by the end of the year, and they assess it and possibly award the final grant: the Implementation Grant.
“All of these ideas are going to come from the community,” said Barry Oches, Program Director for the Planning Grant. “We’re going to put them together using the talents and resources that Ohio University has to put together a proposal that proves to the U.S. Department of Education not only that we have the capacity, but we also have a high probability of success.”
If awarded, the Implementation Grant could provide $4-6 million to the Trimble community according to Oches. The catch, however, is that there must be local backing for 50 percent of all federal funding. So if Trimble receives $4 million in federal money, the township must produce $2 million for the project.
Last week, the Tomcat Bridgebuilders hosted a town hall meeting to discuss and brainstorm ideas in what was a “great community turnout,” according to Donna Jensen-Besaw, district liaison for the Planning Grant. Jensen-Besaw is a Trimble High graduate of 1975 and is leading the communication between the school district and OU.
“Our goal is to change any perception about this community that it is not a good place to raise your children,” she said.
Also involved in the brainstorming are the Tomcat Bridgebuilders. The Bridgebuilders have been combating community problems for nearly seven years by “bridging caps to strengthen the community,” according to Kathy Trace, founding member.
“I’m very hopeful [for the grant]. I think it will succeed if it stays within our control. We have very good people working on it and the community will come up with good ideas and support,” she said.
The Bridgebuilders have raised money for musical instruments in school, Boy Scout camping trips and little league football helmets. They have hosted law enforcement drug speeches, and have advocated for drug abuse prevention since their formation. Many of the Bridgebuilders past successes overlap with preliminary concerns in early Planning Grant discussions. Safe housing, drug abuse, jobs and transportation were all cited as barriers to students’ success.
The drafted plan is due to the U.S. Department of Education by the year’s end. They will make the judgment on whether or not Trimble receives the Implementation Grant.
Jensen-Besaw is the Trimble “local recruiter” working on the grant application and encourages all concerned residents to call her and discuss ideas at (740) 360-9489.