Grants to Fund 27 Projects for Resident Owned Communities

CONCORD, N.H. – A record 27 ROCs received good news this week that their Better Together grant applications have been approved, totaling more than $50,000 in awards.

ROC USA® and the ROC Association Directors are pleased to announce that the Association will fund $50,886 in grants for community projects and rebranding in resident-owned communities.

In March, when it was clear that COVID-19 was serious and would have significant impacts to resident-owned communities, ROC USA did two things immediately.  The first step was to assign a special team that could assess borrower strength and risk and set about talking directly with each ROC Board President and Treasurer.

Second, ROC USA developed a plan to lean in and support communities and Network TA Providers in key ways, including a 0% loan product for borrowers to help meet their obligations and a GoFundMe campaign with a dollar-for-dollar match to provide assistance to households affected by COVID-19.

“We set out to demonstrate that ROCs are resilient during the toughest times, and we needed to do our part,” said ROC USA President Paul Bradley.

As the summer progressed, 27 ROC Grant applications came in with requests totaling just over $50,000 for a grant program that had a budget of $15,000.

“I thought about the work that went into those applications – and the social distancing that is a part of each of the 27 projects – and the boost a grant award would provide each co-op so after a discussion with our Board Chair, we went for it – fund all complete and eligible applications!” Bradley said.

The Association Directors were in full support, as was the ROC USA Board Chair.

“We have lifted a lot of spirits,” said Kim Capen, New England Director, who said he received many responses of thanks, excitement, and positivity. “I want to thank Paul Bradley for championing this Association and the funding for this year’s grants. Notifying the recipients was such a rewarding experience – countless people told me I made their day, and shared how excited they were.”

Capen added that the best response he received was from a Member who said, “We are struggling these days, and this means so much to us.”

In October 2010, the ROC leaders who attended the Community Leadership Institute in Louisville developed a community grants program idea that would both help a fellow ROC as well as engage new leadership in the resident corporation. The ROC USA® Board of Directors has included the grants in the budget since 2010.

The projects are meant to meet safety and health needs, as well as bring together neighbors to solidify the already growing feeling of camaraderie.

Keep reading for a preview of each approved grant project, broken into three general categories: community projects, safety projects, and rebranding and signage projects.

Community Projects

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Prairie Lakes Estates, a 2018 Better Together Grant Winner, used funds to replace mailboxes in their community.

Clear Creek Court Community – Harve, Montana

Clear Creek Court Community is committed to fixing the inconvenience of having residents drive to an alternate location for meetings and community events, and are embarking on a $10,000 project to renovate their community center. The $2,000 received from their Better Together grant will contribute to this project, which will need heat, a new roof, tables and chairs. Community Creek Court hopes to have their new center renovated by winter.

Conifer Green Cooperative – Kingston, Massachusetts

Conifer Green will use their grant to install a large communications board in a vacant lot across the street from the Clubhouse and next to some mailboxes. Since becoming resident owned, Conifer Green has struggled with the best way to communicate with all 77 households. The message board will have designated areas for Board of Directors notices, committee information, and a place for residents to post important information. The project will be complete by December 1st.

Heritage Residents Association – Westfield, Massachusetts

Heritage Residents’ Association will use their grant funds to complete three projects – first, they will install speed bumps to help curb speeding in the community. The second project is the installation of a new sign at the entrance of the community to show pride of ownership. The third project is to better identify community street names and lot numbers to help emergency responders locate specific lots. Work on all three projects will begin immediately.

Hidden Village – Olympia, Washington

Hidden Village, a small, 20-home cooperative celebrating 12 years of resident ownership in September, will use their grant to help repair a paved path and install a bench so their residents can enjoy the adjacent pond. The new path will feature improved accessibility and will be completed this fall.

Missouri Meadows Community – Great Falls, Montana

Missouri Meadows will use the funds from their grant to rent large capacity dumpsters for a community-wide cleanup event in the fall and for a lot improvement contest, which will provide a gift card to the winning household.

Mountain View Housing Community – Gilford, New Hampshire

Mountain View Housing Community has been a resident owned community since 1990. They have always held Board meetings at a home of one of the Board Members, as they do not have a meeting house. At their last annual meeting, the cooperative unanimously voted to approve the purchase of a meeting house. They will use grant funding to help renovate the recently-purchased meeting house – it needs electricity, a wall removed inside, and stairs and a ramp built outside. Mountain View is very excited to start a social committee and host events in their new space, which should be ready for use in the fall of 2020.

Pammel Creek Estates – Lacrosse, Wisconsin

Pammel Creek Estates will use their $2,000 in grant funding to create a park for the children of the community, providing them a safe place to play. Additionally, the program organizer will start a program for the children to get them involved in community-wide projects once per month. The organizing has already begun, and Pammel Creek is hoping to unveil their new park in early September.

Pine Tree Village – Carver, Massachusetts

Pine Tree Village, a 185-home family community, plans to use their grant funds to repair and reseal a neglected basketball court in their community. Pine Tree recently received a donated picnic table, and they are excited to transform this forgotten area into a community destination where families can come together and enjoy recreational activities. Grant funding will also help purchase new basketball hoops and security cameras to protect the space.

West-Side Pines Cooperative – Bend, Oregon

West-Side Pines, a community of 71 homes, will use their grant funding to make renovations to their community building. By removing an unused laundry facility, they have the opportunity to expand into the space to have a community building large enough to host Board meetings once social distancing regulations loosen. West-Side Pines is excited to complete this project before the annual Member meeting in September.

Safety Projects

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Colonial Estates, a 2019 Better Together Grants recipient, addressed a safety concern by replacing the decking on the ramp into their community center.

Brittany Terrace (BT Inc.) – Rock Tavern, New York

Brittany Terrace will use their grant funding to address a safety concern. There have been break-ins in the area, so the community would like to secure their mailroom and library, as well as the recycling room. The project will include replacing locks on the door to the mailroom and to the garage door on the trash and recycling center door. Additionally, Brittany Terrace will install a wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispenser in the mailroom to better protect residents.

Forest Park Tenants’ Association Cooperative – Jaffrey, New Hampshire

FPTAC will use their grant funds to renovate a non-working bathroom inside their main office. This is currently where they hold Board meetings, and lack of access to plumbing means they cannot always accomplish everything they need to during meetings. Additionally, the building would be the location of a command center in the event of a natural or man-made disaster, and access to a bathroom to meet health and safety needs is essential. The cooperative is putting extra funds towards this project, which will be completed in November.

Friendship Drive Cooperative – Salem, New Hampshire

Friendship Drive Cooperative borders a busy street. The cooperative will use grant funds to contribute towards the cost of fencing off the road from the edge of the property. This will help direct community traffic through one standard entrance and exit and will protect the cooperative and drivers on the busy street.

Grey Stone Mobile Home Cooperative – Veazie, Maine

Grey Stone will be using their grant funding to install speed bumps on their main street where speeding is common. The community will also enhance “children at play” signage to help encourage drivers to slow down. Additionally, they will use funds to purchase a “lots available” sign, and they will provide lighting to the sign on their main entrance. These projects will be completed this fall.

Meadow Valley Park – Unadilla, New York

Meadow Valley will use $2,000 to replace an old electric pole in the community. The pole poses a safety risk to community members and is imperative to the community, because it provides visibility to an intersection in their community. Meadow Valley is coordinating with NYSEG, their electricity provider, to complete the project this fall.

Soda Brook Cooperative – Northfield, New Hampshire

Soda Brook Cooperative will use their grant funding to address a safety issue – the steps to their well house need to be replaced. Volunteers from within the community will work to construct the new steps.

Twin Coach Estates HOA – Lakeville, Massachusetts

Twin Coach Estates, a 55+ community, has invested thousands of dollars in tree removal since becoming a cooperative in 2014. There are still many more trees to be removed, so they will use their $2,000 grant to apply towards that ongoing cost this fall.

Upper Lake Shore Homeowners Cooperative – Moses Lake, Washington

There is a real sense of community amongst the 26 homes at Upper Lake Shore Homeowners Cooperative – a number of the families are related, and children run back and forth from each other’s houses. However, there is an issue with cars driving too fast through the community, so they will use their grant funds to purchase recycled rubber speed bumps. A team of community members has already offered to assist with the installation process once the speed bumps are purchased.

Venture Lake Homeowners, Inc. – Hyde Park, New York

Venture Lake will use their grant funds to replace windows on the community center, which is a former garage space. Over the years, the center has developed a musty smell due to lack of ventilation, and leaving the doors open presents challenges with critters and bugs. The funds from their grant will cover the replacement of four of five of the windows and screens, and the steel door will be replaced and hung properly. Venture Lake has a dedicated team of volunteers ready to assist with this project, which will be completed by early November.

Rebranding and Signage Projects

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Sunset Terrace, a 2018 Better Together Grants recipient, used funds to install new signage in their community.

Bear View Crossing Cooperative – Allenstown, New Hampshire

Bear View Crossing recently celebrated their first anniversary of cooperative ownership, and changed their name from Holiday Acres Mobile Home Park to Bear View Crossing Cooperative. Since their purchase, they have had a hard time getting the general public to acknowledge the new community name. They will use their $2,000 grant to contribute to a new sign to boldly and proudly acknowledge their status as a cooperative. The project committee at Bear View Crossing has already worked with a sign company to design the new LED sign, and plan on installing it in early August.

Buena Vista Community – Missoula, Montana

Buena Vista Community will look to address a signage issue with the funds from their grant. Currently, there is only a very small highway sign at the entrance of their community. They will instead design and install a larger sign that identifies the community as resident owned.

C&C Community – Billings, Montana

C&C Community, a cooperative who purchased their community in 2019, has been making improvements steadily since becoming resident-owned. Their next endeavor is to relocate and install a new sign and replace old, decaying fencing with a wrought iron fence that is adjacent to their north neighbors. They will also replace two road signs and incorporate the C&C in their community name into the signs.

Kayadeross Acres – Ballston Spa, New York

Kayadeross Acres is completing a construction project that took two summers and included the replacement of water lines, roadways, infrastructure and the replacement of the pump house. During construction, the sign into their community, which still had the community’s old name on it, was demolished. Kayadeross Acres is excited to use their grant funds to celebrate the completion of construction with a new sign that will feature their resident-selected name and will be visible from the road.

Litchfield Landing Cooperative – Litchfield, New Hampshire

Litchfield Landing will use their grant funds to replace signage at the entrance and also on the streets of their community. The community recognizes that the entrance sign is the first impression people have of their community, and they are looking to enhance their image. A team of volunteers from the community will assist with design, installation, and planting flowers around the entrance sign each spring.

Rosewood Homeowners Cooperative – Winston, Oregon

The signage leading into the Rosewood Homeowners Cooperative still bears the name the community held prior to becoming resident-owned. Rosewood intends to replace these signs with their grant funds. Additionally, they will install two informational signs at both mailbox centers to provide relevant contact information to residents. Rosewood will also install two locked drop boxes for community feedback or paperwork to be dropped off safely and securely.

Trailer Terrace – Great Falls, Montana

Trailer Terrace will use their grant funding on a rebranding initiative to remove the word “trailer” from their community name. The community plans on having an “End of Summer Celebration” to promote community engagement and to encourage residents to share ideas for the new name, which will then go to a vote.

View Vista Community – Livingston, Montana

View Vista will use their grant funding for a new sign that will display that they are proudly a resident owned community. Their current sign still depicts their old community name, and View Vista looks forward to replacing it in late fall.

Windy Hollow Mobile Home Park – Castleton, Vermont

Windy Hollow, a 44-home community who purchased their community in 2018, will use their grant funds to install two new signs with addresses at separate entrances. The new signs will state they are a resident owned community and will contain a decal of the state of Vermont. A team of volunteers is set to build the signs and provide the lettering.