“Blueprint Communities” Initiative Expanding in Southern West Virginia

From the West Virginia Community Development Hub:

The Blueprint Communities initiative, which helps  smaller communities gain their second wind through a program of leadership training, capacity building, community planning and access to private and public funds, is expanding in southern West Virginia.

The initiative, inaugurated in 2007 in ten West Virginia communities, is now recruiting other communities interested in gaining the tools they need to spur revitalization in their neighborhoods. Nominations to be a Blueprint Community are due Friday, September 28, 2012. Completed applications are due October 19.
Three of the original Blueprint Communities organizers – the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) of Pittsburgh, West Virginia Community Development Hub, and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation – have decided to bring a second round of community building to the state in concert with other partners and have specifically targeted southern West Virginia due to ongoing area needs. Up to seven communities will be selected to participate in this second round, which gets under way in December and runs through late 2013.
How communities can participate
To be eligible to participate in the next round of Blueprint Communities, a community must have a population of 1,000-30,000; may be a neighborhood within a municipality, a single municipality, or a collection of contiguous municipalities; and must not have completed a community vision and comprehensive revitalization strategy within the last two years. In addition, communities must demonstrate local leadership, possess basic development capacity, and be able to assemble a diverse team of local leaders committ
ed to attending training sessions and advancing the welfare of their neighbors.
Nominations are being accepted across 12 West Virginia counties. First priority is being given to communities in Raleigh, Fayette, Summers and Nicholas counties. Secondary priority applies to communities in Wyoming, Mercer, Greenbrier and McDowell counties. Third priority is being extended to localities in Pocahontas, Monroe, Webster and Boone counties.
Benefits of participation
Communities selected for participation will enjoy the following benefits:
Six days of community revitalization training including materials, meals and lodging with a total value of more than $15,000
Coaching from a certified expert carrying a value of more than $10,000
A community profile containing key indicators and trends
A mini-grant for technical assistance, project implementation or predevelopment needs after successful completion of training
Funding opportunities and strengthened relationships between local leaders and funding source representatives, including a set-aside by FHLBank Pittsburgh for Blueprint Communities interested in affordable housing and small business development.
The track record
Since Blueprint Communities was introduced to West Virginia in 2007, local team leaders report that 20 housing projects, 25 new or expanded businesses, 33 infrastructure projects and 69 other projects have been completed or are under way. Total public/private funding for these projects stands at $26.8 million.
How to apply
Communities within the 12-county application footprint wishing to take part in the second round of Blueprint Communities should visit www.fhlb-pgh.com/housing-and-community/ programs/blueprint-communities.html and look for the community nomination form on the right-hand side of the page. Communities may nominate themselves and do not need a third-party endorsement.
Nominations to be a Blueprint Community are due Friday, September 28, 2012. Completed applications are due October 19.
Additional information may be obtained by contacting the West Virginia Community Development Hub at 304-566-7332 or Laura Rye of FHLBank Pittsburgh’s Morgantown office at 304-373-3563 or at laura.rye@fhlb-pgh.com
Blueprint Communities partners
Partners in the expansion of the Blueprint Communities initiative include:
Brushy Fork Institute
Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
DYNAMICA Consulting
FHLBank Pittsburgh
USDA Rural Development
U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Charleston Office
West Virginia Department of Commerce
West Virginia Housing Development Fund
West Virginia University Extension Service
West Virginia Community Development Hub
FHLBank Pittsburgh and the West Virginia Community Development Hub, aided by program partners and an advisory group, will select the maximum seven communities to participate in the coming round of Blueprint Communities based on requirements set down in a Request for Proposal that will be distributed to interested communities throughout the target area.
Community leaders are strongly encouraged to complete the Community Nomination Form online as early as possible for timely consideration.