University of Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development will air a live Local Government Education webinar, Municipal Approaches to Solar Energy (Part I), on September 13, 2018, Noon – 1:00 p.m. Scott Tess (Environmental Sustainability Manager at the City of Urbana), will share strategies and experiences to make your municipality an easy, fast, and cheap place for solar energy installations for both public and private sector properties. He will discuss the SolSmart best practices and recognition program, municipal solar procurement, public bulk purchase programming, and leasing underutilized property for solar. The webinar is free and open to the public. Register Here
USDA has announced funding through the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR). Funds may be awarded up to $100,000 for a project to prove the scientific or technical feasibility of the approach or concept. Projects dealing with agriculturally related manufacturing and alternative and renewable energy technologies are encouraged across all SBIR topic areas. USDA SBIR's flexible research areas ensure innovative projects consistent with USDA's vision of a healthy and productive nation in harmony with the land, air, and water. The USDA SBIR Program has awarded over 2000 research and development projects since 1983, allowing hundreds of small businesses to explore their technological potential, and providing an incentive to profit from the commercialization of innovative ideas.
Route 66 is the most culturally celebrated and internationally recognized stretch of highway in America, where generations of open road seekers got their kicks and experienced the quintessential road trip. Over time, travelers began bypassing Route 66 for the Interstate, causing the independent businesses, rich roadside architecture, and kitschy landmarks and attractions for which the roadway was known to slowly diminish. By the 1960s, many communities and businesses along the route fell into decay…or disappeared entirely. Today, this same threat persists as motorists opt for faster and more direct routes. The National Trust, the Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership, and dozens of statewide and local partners are seeking a National Historic Trail designation for Route 66. This permanent designation will bring greater public interest and investment to the communities along the iconic highway and encourage their economic revitalization. See the Route 66 Natural Historic Trail for more information.
USDA has more than $4 billion in funding to help rural communities build or upgrade water and wastewater infrastructure through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, storm water drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. For communities needing technical assistance, funding is available through USDA’s Circuit Rider program, and through SEARCH grants. Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. Visit the interactive RD Apply tool, or apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.