GREENFIELD — Hancock County nonprofits are poised to receive nearly $200,000 in city funding next year, about $35,000 more than they received this year.
Representatives from various organizations that serve Greenfield and its residents asked for additional funding in 2016 to help with operating costs and new ventures.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Hancock County, Regreening Greenfield and Hancock Economic Development Council are expected to receive the largest increases in public funding next year. The youth agency asked the council for $50,000 in 2016 — $10,000 more than it received in 2015. Regreening Greenfield, which helps plant trees and flowers throughout the city, asked for $10,000 — $9,000 more than what it asked for in 2015. HEDC asked for $65,000, up $15,000 from 2015.
Regreening Greenfield plans to use the extra money to plant new trees throughout the city; money for the boys and girls clubs will go toward programming and building maintenance, and the economic development council’s boost is aimed at strengthening the city’s partnership with the council.
Regreening Greenfield looks forward to purchasing and planting dozens of trees, an important endeavor as trees in Hancock County continue to die, said Sally Parsons, a member of the organization.
In Riley Park alone, 126 trees have been infected by the emerald ash borer and will need to be cut down in the coming years. Regreening Greenfield has launched a fundraising effort to help replace those trees.
“The emerald ash (borer) is going to take every ash tree in Greenfield. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when,” she said.
In the past 10 years, Greenfield has lost about 43 percent of the trees that line city streets, Parsons said. It’s disheartening because the trees help make Greenfield beautiful, she added.
With $10,000, the group can plant about 75 trees next year, she said.
“We feel this is an important part of the revitalization of Greenfield,” she said.
City council members agreed and approved the request. Councilwoman Judy Swift said the organization’s efforts are important for the entire city.
“Regreening is really how we will get the trees back,” she said.
For the Hancock Economic Development Council, it is the second year in a row the agency, received a funding increase of $10,000 or more. The council which as a liaison between local government and the business community.
No representatives for the economic development council attended the meeting, but city utilities director Mike Fruth suggested the extra funding, saying it might help Greenfield utilities be more involved in the process of bringing new development to the area.
Chad Hudson, executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hancock County, said the city is the organization’s second-largest donor, falling just behind the United Way of Central Indiana.
He said organizers hope to do some much-needed building maintenance next year and offer more programming, either by creating additional programs for youth or beefing up the current offerings.
“We couldn’t do it without the city. Without the city’s funds, I don’t know where we would be,” Hudson said. “We’re just so appreciative.”
The funding for the organizations comes out of the city’s share of the county economic development income tax fund. Not every request is approved each year, council president Kerry Grass said.
But he said the city feels it’s important to help fund the organizations because they play a vital part in making Greenfield a better community to live in.
Hancock County Senior Services, which is set to receive $22,000, provides help to the community’s seniors, and the boys and girls clubs provides activities for youth, making them both important organizations to help, he said.
“I could go on and on for each one of those organizations that request money about how it helps the citizens of Greenfield,” he said. “They’re just very important, and we’re happy to help.”