New mapping tool helps communities make a better case for investing in Delaware Valley

Times are tough. “Right now, especially now, especially lately, there’s not as much public money to go around,” said Greg Krykewycz, a project manager at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

Krykewycz’s made it a little easier for local organizations to get their hands on grants — especially government ones — by creating the Community Investment Index.

It’s like an info-graphic on steroids: a color-coded map that shows where over $1 billion in public funding were spent over the last 10 years.

“We wanted to gather and map as many prior public investments as we could,” said Krykewycz, “to see how they have been distributed over time — where they tended to go and where they tended to not go.” It’s crucial to map, he says, because the government is more likely to grant money to new projects that capitalize on older investments. Say you want money to build a hiking and biking trail in Bucks County. You could use the map to check if it may connect one affordable housing development to another. Or it may run through a park that got money to plant trees. It may connect different types of public transportation.  “The more of these kinds of things you can point to helps to bolster the case for the individual project that you’re proposing,” said Krykewycz. He says the DVRPC will regularly update the map in the hope that its helping community development organizations beat the increasingly tough competition for grant dollars.

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