January 13, 2023

Another $3.3 Million in Grant Funding Coming Our Way

A great way to start the new year, we’ve recently been informed that several of our federal and state grant applications have been approved.

With sincere appreciation to Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher for once again going to bat for us, Bellaire secured $3 million in the latest round of federal appropriations:

Accessible and Inclusive Playground

$600,000 of that funding is to build an accessible and inclusive playground at Evergreen Park.  It will offer a range of play experiences for children of varying abilities and diverse needs, such as by utilizing wider, ramped platforms and structures designed to accommodate wheelchairs.  It will also incorporate sensory play elements involving touch and music, as well as interactive educational features.  Our non-profit partner Patrons for Bellaire Parks believes so much in the importance of this project it has pledged another $160,000 toward any local match (bringing to more than $2.1 million Patrons’ total contributions to date in support of Bellaire parks).

Water Line Replacement

The remaining $2.4 million is for replacing old water lines that have reached the end of their useful service lives.  The majority of them being original cast iron water lines now 50+ years old and the most prone to failure.  Though we made a lot of progress through our 2016 bond program there are still plenty of lines needing to be addressed.  Replacing this aging critical infrastructure will improve system reliability and reduce operational costs associated with emergency repairs that have become all too common throughout the City.  We additionally have available another $782,000 from last year’s federal appropriation process set aside for this purpose.

Our Police Department has also successfully landed two state law enforcement grants:

Crime Victim Specialist Program

Since 2019 the Bellaire Police Department has had on staff a Crime Victim Specialist, funded by a three-year federal grant sponsored by the Department of Justice.  Among her accomplishments she has created numerous partnerships with organizations across Harris and Fort Bend Counties, provided public education and training on crime prevention, and has directly served hundreds of crime victims over the last three years.  Importantly, maintaining this specialist role frees up police time and resources that were previously devoted to fulfilling such state-mandated crime victim liaison functions.  As the original grant was non-renewable, it was always understood that upon its expiration we would seek to continue the position under the federal Victims of Crime Act grant program as a subrecipient through the Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division.  The $99,000 we’ve been awarded will cover salary, benefits and program costs for fiscal year 2023.

Bullet-Resistant Shields

The State of Texas is providing local law enforcement agencies grant funding to equip officers who may respond to school safety emergencies with bullet-resistant shields.  Our application was approved for $43,800 for the purchase of six units.  We currently deploy lightweight shields, approximately 10” x 18”, in patrol cars and for tactical operations.  The new shields to be acquired with this grant will be larger, approximately 18” x 32” with an integrated viewport, and will be for use by our Special Response Team in the event of an active shooter or in other high-risk engagements in which a larger protective area is needed.

The City of Bellaire is grateful to receive these grant awards and for the budgetary enhancements they make possible.  Kudos to our staff, including those in Parks & Rec, Public Works and Police, who were involved in presenting and supporting our applications.  We will of course continue to pursue such funding opportunities as they become available in the future.