From buying police body cameras to planting trees around city, grants help Aurora fund projects

The city of Aurora received 25 grants worth about $7.14 million during 2023.

Grant writer Julie Frankino said she assessed more than 280 grants and applied for 44 of them last year. Of that, 25 were awarded to the city.

Frankino spoke recently to the Aurora City Council about the importance of grants.

“Grants exist because we can’t do everything on our own,” she said.

The city received grants for all kinds of different things, from technology to park development to police training to museums.

Among the grants the city received $25,000 from the Regional Trees Initiative to add trees to the downtown landscape, and also received $1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture toward reforestation in the city.

The city received $895,890 from the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Safety Fund to use towards buying body cameras for police officers.

It also received almost $500,000 from the lllinois Housing Development Authority to help demolish abandoned properties, and to clean up junk in neighborhoods.

For 2024, Frankino has assessed more than 130 grants and submitted for 15 of them worth a total of $10.5 million.

The city has been awarded one for 2024 so far, a $600,000 grant from the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development, or OSLAD, program for renovations and redevelopment at Garfield Park on the East Side.