The Rocky Fork Lake Area Safety and Advancement Planning Process (RFL-ASAP) project at Rocky Fork Lake has won a grant of more than $800,000 to fight crime and improve economic conditions in the Rocky Fork Lake region. The project was one of just 10 such awards that were made nationally.
The grant, announced last week by the United States Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, “was the result of over 18 months of hard work and planning by our entire cross sector collaborate, including our partners at Ohio University,” according to LuAnn Winkle, director of Turning Point Applied Learning Center, which led the project. The grant is technically awarded to the Highland County Commissioners, who planned a formal announcement Wednesday morning at their weekly meeting.
Beginning with a series of meetings starting in December 2014 and involving as many as 60 county officials, business owners and others, four major themes emerged at the lake, including crime reduction and community safety, housing and property issues, economic development and marketing, and community services.
“These themes will provide structure for the planning process,” said Winkle at the time. “A number of participants also identified image, perception and cultural issues as areas that must be addressed in all proposed solutions.” The grant awarded to the RFL-ASAP project totals $843,498.
The effort came about after Highland County was awarded a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Byrnes Criminal Justice Innovation Program “to develop an evidence-based, data driven, community-oriented plan to reduce crime and improve public safety in targeted neighborhoods” in the Rocky Fork Lake area, according to material supplied by the organizers. Their hope was to win the larger grant, which will be applied toward addressing the issues that have been identified at the lake.
In all, about $8 million in funding for Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program projects was awarded to 10 local criminal justice and community agencies and research institutions via this program, which helps communities develop comprehensive strategies that target neighborhoods with hot spots of crime and violence.
In addition to the Rocky Fork Lake award, awardees included: the Boston Public Health Commission; the City of Battle Creek, MI; Rockdale County, GA; the City of Hartford, CT; the City of Shreveport, LA; the Milwaukee Police Dept., WI; the University of Maryland; Northwest N.J. Community Action Program, Inc.; and the City of Tulsa, OK.
Read more about the award following the commissioners’ Wednesday morning meeting.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.