Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted on the content or editorial direction of sponsored content.
California’s Transformative Climate Community (TCC) grant program is by all accounts very successful in bringing people together to work together on climate solutions for their local areas. The program awards planning grants – to get the process started – and implementation grants to help get projects off the ground.
Now in its fourth cycle, the program has been such a success that the state has increased its funding by injecting money from the general fund for this round. This allowed the Strategic Growth Council (SGC) to approve a total of seven planning grants and three implementation grants yesterday, with funds left over to provide additional technical assistance in the next round.
This technical assistance is crucial, as numerous commentators at yesterday’s SGC meeting confirmed. Not only is the application process complex and competitive, it requires a very broad community engagement process so that area residents can decide for themselves what is most important and beneficial to them in terms of climate resilience. This could be anything from better infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians to drive-throughs to solar roofs, gardens, urban trees and more.
The total approved amount for the three implementation grants is about $94 million, and most of the seven planning grants total about $300,000.
The winning applicants are rightly celebrating today, as it took years of effort to get this funding and many of them have already gone some way to creating the transformations these grants aim for.
This also applies to bidders who came close but did not win. Just starting a process that makes people ask themselves the question “How can we improve our community and what do we need to help it?” can bring surprising results and an impetus to change and to ask for specific kinds of help.
Staff assured that funding for Round 5 will be available next year and these apps have a pretty big role in the competition. They include a proposed implementation grant in the Coachella Valley, Prospera, build a housing project, a rooftop solar project, an active transportation and transit access project, and an urban greening project. Another honorable mention was a planning grant application from the San Francisco Transit Riders Union that focused on engaging the people of the Bayview/Hunters Point neighborhood in their transportation needs and solutions and brought the possibility of incorporating “rapid build” projects to speed up transit. and make the streets safer.
These projects and the winning projects listed below all demonstrated “strong community partnerships and the ability to complete projects.” More details on each project can be found in the staff reports [Implementation Grants PDF; Planning Grants PDF].
TCC Implementation Grants
- Community Partners: South LA Eco-Lab, $35 million
This project brings together twelve different community partners, including Trust South LA, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, Streets LA, LA Metro, LADOT, GRID Alternatives, and Tree People, to work on roughly eleven different projects focused on active transportation, transit access , clean energy, increasing tree canopy and preventing displacement.
The partners received a TCC Round 2 planning grant to begin a participatory planning process that identified “the need for greater resident involvement in land use decisions, expanding access to jobs that pay living and family-sustaining wages, increasing affordable housing and parks.” and improving air quality and traffic. The South LA Eco-Lab design will create green spaces, improve energy and water efficiency, and expand safe travel options in the area.
- City of Richmond: Richmond Rising, $35 million
Partners for this grant include the City of Richmond, Trust for Public Land, Rich City Rides, GRID Alternatives, Urban Tilth and Groundwork Richmond. Projects will focus on complete neighborhood streets, the Richmond Wellness Trail, an e-bike lending library, community gardening, healthy eating and food security, renewable energy in the home, and reducing water waste.
“Overall, Richmond Rising represents a strong vision for the Iron Triangle, Santa Fe and Coronado neighborhoods that is grounded in years of youth leadership, grassroots organizing, community engagement and community planning. This vision is complemented by the proven ability of the applicant and co-applicants to implement the proposed plans and projects.”
- City of Stockton: Stockton on the Rise, $24 million
Again, a long line of partners have been working together for years on a range of projects that include park renovations, worker training, solar installations, urban forestry and more. Stockton Rising received a partial implementation grant in the last funding cycle and will continue to build on the work they are doing. The community focuses on transit access and mobility, renewable energy, water and energy efficiency, and indoor air quality.
TCC Planning Grants
- County of San Diego: Spring Valley Sustainable Environment and Engaged Development Strategies (SEEDS). Spring Valley is an environmental justice community that will focus on community land trust studies and healthy food systems, among other things.
- Karuk tribe: Panámnik, sákriiv nukyâavish! (Orleans, we’re doing it strong!). Community engagement and development planning for the unincorporated community of Orleans to include housing, resilient clean energy, air quality and food security.
- County of Monterey: Climate Prosperity for the Pájaro Valley. Pájaro Valley is an unincorporated area near Watsonville that is largely populated by agricultural workers. This application will bring together a cross-sector community climate coalition to develop recommendations on electrification, transportation and affordable housing.
- Chicken Ranch Rancheria. Members of the Mi-Wuk Tribal Community will focus planning efforts on “healthy and safe communities with equitable access to sustainable public health and development, including improving active transportation and identifying funding to better connect the communities and Jamestown with sister communities in Tuolumne County.”
- Allensworth Progressive Association. Planning will focus on a redesigned Civic Center/Plaza, recreation trail, greenways, housing and a community solar farm.
- Native American Environmental Coalition. Members of the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation will conduct a climate vulnerability and adaptation planning process with the intention of encouraging community participation and decision-making so that tribal members “own the plan” and are committed and active in the outcome.
- the Wiyot tribe. Planning for affordable mixed-use housing in a walkable, ecologically restored neighborhood, prioritizing members of the Wiyot tribe, indigenous people, and low-income people, as well as the development of good-paying construction jobs.
Note that several planning grants are in unregistered and/or tribal areas that have become newly eligible for funding in this round. These grants will give communities and tribes the opportunity to decide for themselves what projects and plans will be most beneficial to them, as well as provide them with the tools and funding to complete local policy and fiscal impact analyses.
At yesterday’s meeting, several SGC board members took a moment to express appreciation to all grant applicants and admiration for the commitment, time and effort that went into creating meaningful community engagement to create the best plans.
In particular, Councilman Frank Cardenas pointed out that this was South LA’s second attempt to receive a TCC implementation grant. “Given what we know about climate change, it’s easy to despair,” he said, adding that he was tempted to give up on it himself — but a visit to an environmental lab changed his perspective. “That,” he said, “makes me hopeful and optimistic. I think I see a future here.”
“Richmond, Stockton and South LA are remnants of the mining economy,” he added, and that has to stop. “There’s trouble in LA right now, but these politicians aren’t real— this is real. These communities are real. This grant allows you to come up with a vision; our job is simply to ensure that the resources – which you are already paying for – are returned to you.
“It’s been a long time, but you’ve earned it,” he added.