Indiana Chapter - American Planning Association

OCRA Planning Grants Available!

Posted on July 27th, by Aletha Dunston, AICP in Grants. No Comments

Fellow Planners:

As the new Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program Manager for the State of Indiana, I’d like to clear up some misconceptions I had as an 8 year Planning Director regarding OCRA’s Planning Grant Program.

  1. There are planning grant funds available! I didn’t realize this until after we had created 5 neighborhood plans, a downtown revitalization plan, and a comprehensive plan IN-HOUSE.
  2. There are a variety of planning grant types funded at different levels. While these don’t always cover the entire cost of a plan, they can make a big dent!
  3. There are minimum technical requirements that must be met for each plan type, but there is also an ability to add items that are important to the community to the scope of work prior to hiring a consultant.
  4. There are no deadlines! The Planning Grant Program is the only CDBG program awarded on a rolling-basis throughout the year. While applications are not scored competitively against others, they must meet a minimum score to be eligible for funding.
  5. Planning grants count towards the number of open CDBG grants allowed. A city/town may only have 3 open CDBG grants, and a county only 4 open CDBG grants at any given time. It is best to confirm that the plan you are funding is a priority of the community prior to application.
  6. These funds are available to non-entitlement communities that meet 51% LMI. However, communities that don’t meet the requisite 51% low-moderate income threshold are not automatically disqualified from receiving CDBG funds. A community can hire an independent Income Survey to be conducted. This generally provides more accurate data and is most likely to achieve the desired result if a community is within a few percentage points of 51%, or if there is a limited area to be served. You can check the current Non-entitled County/City/Town Data at
  7. Finally, OCRA has regional liaisons living and working throughout the state to help you with questions regarding any OCRA and/or CDBG programs. They are also your touch-point to recommend new plan types for OCRA to consider funding in the future. If you don’t already, I would recommend getting to know your Community Liaison!
Type of Planning Grant Maximum Grant Amount
Environmental Infrastructure (one utility) $35,000
Environmental Infrastructure (two utilities) $45,000
Environmental Infrastructure (master utility study – water, storm, wastewater) $50,000
Dam/Levee System Evaluations $75,000
Comprehensive Plans: communities w/less than 10,000 population $40,000
Comprehensive Plans: communities w/more than 10,000 population $50,000
Downtown Revitalization Plans: communities w/less than 2,000 population $30,000
Downtown Revitalization Plans: communities w/more than 2,000 population $40,000
Economic Development Plans $40,000
Public Facilities Plans $20,000
Historic Preservation Plans $20,000
Environmental Assessment/Remediation Case-by-case

For more information about the program and individual plan types, please visit

I’m excited to promote this funding opportunity to a larger cross-section of the State, and I look forward to your submittals!

-Aletha Dunston, AICP

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