Working to Fund Borough Improvements
Since 2008, state and regional grant makers have awarded Media Borough over $3.5 million. Several of the projects funded by these grants will result in cost savings totaling more than $500,000, so grants have contributed over $4 million to the borough budget in the last decade!
Who’s behind this work? The Media Grants Administration Department, which works with the borough manager, council, and other departments to understand the borough’s top priorities… and where there might be opportunities to solicit financial support.
Not every municipality has dedicated resources focused on grant writing, making Media somewhat unique to have this function. The department is staffed by Karen Taussig-Lux, Grants Administrator, who has worked for the borough for twelve years.
Having a strong plan in place is critical to securing funding. Some regional and state grant programs such as the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will fund the creation of solid planning documents; most funders look more favorably upon projects with a well-defined plan. The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and PennDOT are currently funding the implementation of the Wayfinding Plan with $430,000 in grants (combined), which will strategically place clear, easy to follow signage throughout the borough.
“We’ve also had success in obtaining grants from the Growing Greener Program (DEP) and Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program (a DVRPC and PennDOT partnership) based on the Stormwater Master Plan we created back in 2017,” says Taussig-Lux. The master plan itself was funded through a DEP grant, and the Borough has been able to secure an additional $560,000 for “green infrastructure” improvements based on opportunities identified in the plan.
“Many of our grants have an environmental nature or component to them,” says Taussig-Lux. “State departments like the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and funders like the PECO Green Region Open Space Program are interested in achieving their organization’s broader goals on the local level, so they are a good source to turn to when it comes to developing our parks and other green spaces.” A PECO grant funded the purchase of native plantings for Veterans Square Garden last year. Currently, a grant from the DCNR is being used to develop the new park at 5th & Broomall Streets.
The Grants Department has been able to find grants the borough can take to reduce energy usage and lower energy costs. It also researches measures the borough can take to cut costs its own, without outside finding. Energy improvements funded by the Delaware County’s Municipal Energy Efficiency Program included motion-sensor lights, programmable thermostats and converting parking garage lights. In 2017, the borough converted its streetlights LED, and currently the borough is switching interior lighting in Borough Hall over to LEDs as well.
Day to day, the work of the Media Grants Department stays connected to the many ideas and initiatives being worked on by council members, committees and departments. “There’s money out there, but you really need to do your homework and get input from the experts to write a good grant,” remarks Taussig-Lux. “A big part of my job is talking to the people at the heart of a project. Then I am able to come back and read the fine print…crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s… to make sure we have given funders everything they are looking for and every reason to support us.”
“Media is doing some pretty amazing and visionary things,” says Taussig-Lux. “I’m proud to be a part of the work.”
Note: The Media Grants Department does NOT give out grants. It writes and oversees grants for the borough to carry out projects that improve the lives of residents.