On Becoming A City

West Sacramento Grant Services

The Client

The City of West Sacramento lies across the Sacramento River from downtown Sacramento. The economic growth of the region and the state had bypassed West Sacramento for decades, leaving the physical setting stagnant from its 1940's-50's dependence on highway commercial. Its past prominence as the only direct link from the San Francisco Bay Area to the state capital and eastward to Reno ended with the construction of Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 50, which essentially sidelined West Sacramento.

West Sacramento was incorporated in 1987 from four small communities. The newly formed city began an ambitious program to unify the neighborhoods into a single community, upgrading/building infrastructure, establishing an aggressive program of redevelopment and economic development, providing services, and preparing for the time when development – business and residential – would recognize the benefits of being on the west side of the river, a short distance from downtown Sacramento.

Our Approach

With limited resources, the City initiated a program of seeking grant funds for its priorities, contracting with ADE to provide assistance. ADE has developed a very successful multi-year grant program for the City, preparing 46 funded grants as of January 2011 and bringing $71 million and counting to the city and its partners to address West Sacramento's goals.

There are several important variables that affect any grant application, such as how active a city can be in the process; what projects are considered; what city resources (e.g. staff time and expertise) can be provided; and the relationship of individual grant projects to larger city projects and larger grants.

ADE applies its experience from many years of successful grantwriting, including proven understanding of local governance, insight into the funding agencies, and rigorous attention to both the detail and the ‘big picture' of the application and project. In this instance, part of our success lies in the fact that West Sacramento is highly creative and proactive, making it an excellent grant partner.

The Process

ADE's West Sacramento grant work is directed by a city staff member who also is responsible for coordinating the city side of the activity. On each application ADE works closely with city staff to structure the project/application to meet the purpose of the grant, relate the project to the grant's evaluation criteria, problem-solve to overcome impediments, and quickly adapt to changing circumstances as the application progresses.

A competitive application requires the integration of increasingly deeper levels of information and understanding, with the risk of things getting out of control or off-target. Cognizant of this, ADE provides focus and continuity to the city throughout the process. The end result is a concisely written and well documented application, with all components in agreement and every part of the application closely related to the purpose and evaluation criteria of the grant program.

On several occasions, ADE's West Sacramento grant applications have been cited as ‘outstanding' by the funding agency and used as a model for other applicants in future funding rounds. (Examples include applications to U.S. EPA and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.)

The Outcomes

ADE has prepared 46 successful grant applications for West Sacramento and its partners for a total of $71 million; additional grants are pending. These grants address City strategic priorities, with each grant serving multiple purposes.

  • Infrastructure Improvements: Grants are funding a) transportation improvements which link neighborhoods, serve public facilities and smart growth development, b) alternative forms of transportation, c) water system improvements, d) public safety infrastructure, and e) infrastructure for major development projects.
  • Additional Public Facilities: Grants are funding the city's community center, parks, public paths, riverfront access, port improvements, and increased facility safety and security. These city grants and facilities leverage the new location in West Sacramento of other major public facilities such as the community college, county library, and transit center.
  • Downtown Revitalization: The majority of the grants for public facilities, infrastructure improvements and pre-development directly relate to the establishment of a dynamic central downtown.
  • Economic Development Grants are funding business loan programs, port improvements to increase shipping activity and business development, and pre-development preparation to attract businesses and job creation.
  • Redevelopment of Brownfields: Grants enable the city to ready itself for redevelopment, through brownfields assessments of hundreds of underutilized parcels targeted for new infill development, and cleanup projects as needed, major transportation infrastructure improvements, and public facilities development. These grants and projects leverage other grants, such as the City's $23 million infrastructure grant for the Bridge District.
  • Environmental and Health Considerations: The grants incorporate significant environmental and/or natural resource conservation benefits, such as water system improvements, brownfields mitigation, alternative transportation for air emission reductions, increased parkland, private and public facilities constructed to smart growth/green building standards, increased density. A recent example is the $30 million Transportation grant to the Ports of West Sacramento, Stockton and Oakland for the Green Corridor project to develop a barge system for inland shipping, which will reduce air emissions from highway trucking and traffic congestion on the freeways.
  • Sustainability: These grants assist the sustainability of local resources through such outcomes as: public investment in long term infrastructure and other public improvements that stimulate and promote increased private investment in the community; increased local revenues for City services due to the increased private investment; increased quality of life for local residents through improved public amenities; and increased improvements providing Green House Gas (GHG) emission reductions.

    ADE's services have increased city staff capacity regarding grants, and some city applications are prepared in-house. With the submission of excellent applications and their award, the City's reputation among funding agencies has grown, which assists with consideration of future applications.
  • Prosperity: The use of federal and state funds to supplement local resources enables the city to build on its very limited resources to put in place the long-lasting foundations for improved economic and community activity. The end result is greatly increased prosperity for the community, its businesses and residents.