CONCORD, N.H. — Twelve Resident Owned Communities (ROCs) received the good news this week that their Better Together Grant applications have been approved, totaling $22,600 in funding for projects that will address community improvements, safety concerns, and rebranding needs.
The ROC Association received more than two dozen applications for the grant program, which awards $2,000 grants to ROCs who demonstrate a compelling community or rebranding need.
“Nothing makes us happier than awarding grants to communities to help them complete a special project,” said ROC Association Board Chair Lorie Cahill, who represents the Mountain West region. “It was really difficult to select recipients from such a great applicant pool. Thanks to all who applied and congratulations to this year’s recipients!”
Kim Capen, the ROC Association Director representing New England, was tasked with notifying the grant awardees in his region. Capen said he received positive feedback and thanks from project leaders, including one who said, “We have been working so hard to improve things, this will help so much!”
In October 2010, the ROC leaders who attended the Community Leadership Institute in Louisville developed a community grants program idea that would both help a fellow ROC as well as engage new leadership in the resident corporation. The ROC USA® Board of Directors has included the grants in the budget since 2011 and has awarded a total of $147,165.96 in funding directly to ROCs.
Keep reading for a preview of each approved grant project.
2021 Better Together Grant recipients
Black Bear Village Cooperative in North Conway, N.H., will install permanent “children at play” signs in their community and will invest in permit parking stickers for residents to help curb non-resident visitors in their recreation area. The community will install solar lighting at the entrance and near their community center, playground, and basketball court. Black Bear Village will install a community message board at the office entrance to notify Members of upcoming activities, meetings, and work notices. Community volunteers will work to complete the project this summer.
Champion Homes in Elbridge, N.Y., will use funding to make improvements to the community’s playground. They will look to replace a slide that had to be removed for safety concerns, will install two new swings to double capacity, and will sand and repaint the jungle gym. The project committee will also explore installing a volleyball net and tether ball pole. The playground improvements will be made this summer.
Green Acres Cooperative in Kalispell, Mont., will build a picnic area at their community center to help foster a more engaged community. A group of volunteers will install picnic tables, a barbecue grill, gazebo, and plant flowers to make it a welcoming space for the entire 32-home community. The project is expected to be complete by the end of summer.
Heritage Association in Warren, Mass., will install 15 poles and solar streetlights in the 55-and-over section of their community to increase safety and security for residents. A group of volunteer community members will work to install the posts and lights beginning in July.
Libby Creek Community in Libby, Mont., recently received funding from the Headwaters Community Foundation to construct a new playground. The community will use their Better Together Grant to install a chain-link fence around the perimeter of the playground to help keep the children safe. Community volunteers will install the fencing after the playground construction is complete.
Lincoln Mobile Estates in Lincoln, R.I., will address a safety issue in the community – emergency vehicles and delivery people have a hard time finding the correct home due to inefficient signage. The project committee will update street signs and home numbers throughout the community to ensure safety vehicles and packages reach their intended destination.
Loon Estates Cooperative in Northwood, N.H., will convert an old garage into a community center for the residents of its 27 homes. The funding will be applied toward upgrades to the electrical system and the installation of walls, insulation, paint and flooring. Once complete, the space will be used for community-wide meetings and events. The community will use the expertise of a few Members to complete the project by this fall.
Northwood Community in Ronan, Mont., will install a paved basketball court for children away from the main road this fall.
Old Lake Shore Cooperative in Gilford, N.H., will begin the process of converting a building in their community into a community center. Currently, the community’s Board of Directors meets in a very small office and annual meetings have to be held off-site. The grant funding will go toward tackling the two biggest hurdles in the building conversion – installing electricity and water. Once these two items are complete, the project committee will look for resident volunteers to assist with additional interior projects.
Pleasant Park Community in Great Falls, Mont., will apply funding toward the purchase and installation of a playground set for the children in the community. A playground has long been on the wish list for the Members of Pleasant Park, and completing this project will increase community engagement and continue positive momentum. The main playground equipment will be installed this fall.
Tanglewood Park Cooperative in Keene, N.H., is a 328-home community that became resident-owned in 2019. The community has two main entrances on heavily traveled roads in Keene. Both entrances feature 25-year-old signs that reflect the name of the ownership at that time they were built. The community will apply funding to two brand new barn-style handcrafted signs that proudly display the cooperative’s name. The signs will be installed this fall.
Top of the Hill Cooperative in Concord, N.H., will install lighting and cameras at the back of the community to help curb vandalism and unauthorized dumping by non-residents. The community will also install better signage. Installation will be completed this fall.