BoCo grant boosts Grange's reach


November 6, 2019 | View PDF

Vicky Dorvee

Thanks to the Niwot Business Association applying for a Boulder County Economic Vitality Grant on behalf of the historic Left Hand Valley Grange, the organization will be rolling out a new website and reaching out through local advertising to engage more participation with the community center.

The Niwot Business Association (NBA) received word in June that a Boulder County Economic Vitality Grant it had applied for on behalf of Niwot's Left Hand Valley Grange had been approved. The grant is part of Boulder County's overall distribution of grant funds to one economic development organization in each municipality including Erie, Longmont, and Nederland. The fund was formerly called the Economic Development Grant.

Boulder County's Economic Development website page reads, "In support of economic development in our towns and municipalities, Boulder County has a long-standing tradition of contributing financially through economic development grants to local chambers of commerce, economic councils, the Small Business Development Center, and other economic development organizations."

Dayna Roane, former NBA treasurer, and Niwot's Economic Development Director Catherine McHale submitted an application for the county funds just before the December 2018 deadline.

"We dreamed up the application to be used on behalf of the Grange," Roane said, "to help improve its visibility. I don't think anyone would argue that the Grange is a little, quiet place and there's actually people in the Niwot Business Association that didn't know what the Grange is – shockingly."

The award of $2,325 is earmarked to help the Grange improve public communications and garner the attention that, because of its past and ongoing significance in the community, is merited.

Part of a national network of 3,600 granges and first chartered in 1873, Left Hand Grange No. 9 is now the oldest active grange in Colorado, having outlived the first eight. Gatherings at the Grange range from social to informative. Politicians and professors, hobbyists and honey beekeepers, clubs, crafts, companies, kids, musicians, marriages and memorials all find a welcome place in its walls.

Roane said the grant application was completed with the written promise that the NBA and the Grange would be working together cooperatively "to revitalize an important historic and community treasure."

Once the grant approval became official, NBA officers, and the board and members of the Grange met to discuss how best to utilize the funds. The result was the decision to move forward with an improved website and to advertise membership through local channels. Both strategies were designed to inform the community that the Grange is an available and valuable resource and to garner more public participation through membership and volunteering.

The revamped website is scheduled to be launched by the end of the year and will feature updated content and photographs, while honoring the history and legacy of the organization. It also will show the Grange's event calendar and allow renters to complete the booking process.

"The Grange is so appreciative of this grant," Grange president Kellie Beran said. "Hopefully the new website will help the Grange become more relevant to the community and help us gain more members, which we need to help this vital piece of Niwot thrive. Mostly, it has just really helped us realize how much the community treasures the Grange."

This isn't the first year that Niwot has been a recipient of the Boulder County Economic Development funds. From 2015 through 2018, the grant's funds (always in the amount of $2,325) were used to install trees and irrigation along 2nd Avenue between Franklin and Murray Streets and to help offset the cost of creating and enhancing the Connectivity Project on the corner of Niwot Road and 79th Street. Each project was also underwritten by the Local Improvement District (LID).

NBA member and Niwot Streetscape committee representative Chuck Klueber has spearheaded the application process many times in the past. Klueber wrote, "It requires that the contractor who requests the grant also use matching funds. The $2,325 doesn't buy you much in the way of economic development. So in order to get matching funds of a sufficient amount, I went to the LID to request their financial support."

It's nearing the submission deadline for next year's Economic Vitality Grant application. NBA president, Tony Santelli said, "Although we have not formalized our intent for the 2020 grant, it is reasonable that improving the ambiance of Cottonwood Square will be one option that will be addressed."


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