Frequently Asked Questions about the Neighborhood Partnering Program

Looking for assistance with a project through the Neighborhood Partnering Program? Read these frequently asked questions to learn more about what you'll need to apply and what to expect after you submit your application!

What kinds of projects does NPP sponsor? 

As long as the eligibility requirements are met, NPP will consider any small to medium-sized project and work with your group to determine if the project is a good fit for the program. Projects must comply with all City codes and regulations. Some projects may require approval from multiple City departments. Contact NPP staff to determine if a project is feasible or allowable at the proposed location before you complete a full application.

I have an idea for my neighborhood. Do I need others to join in?

NPP is all about community and these projects can really bring together a neighborhood or community. We are happy to discuss your ideas, but keep in mind the application must come from a local group, such as a neighborhood association, community organization, or other non-profit entity. Multiple groups can apply together or sign on as additional partners.  

If you are not already representing such a group, you will need to look for one who is interested in partnering in order to apply.  

How long does it take to complete an application and get approved? 

Completion of the application takes time. NPP staff will work with you to answer your questions and guide you through the process.  

Applications are reviewed by NPP staff to ensure they are complete and eligible for approval.  

For Neighborhood Cost Share - after the application deadline date, all applications are prepared for consideration at the NPP Board meeting, which usually takes about three months after the application deadline. 

For Adopt-A-Median and Grant Assistance Program – applications are reviewed and considered as they are received. Approval time depends on the complexity of the project and the availability of City staff to confirm and review proposals. 

What kind of community support is required? 

The NPP application will require that you demonstrate neighborhood support from impacted stakeholders and residents. This includes: 

  • Letters of support from the other community stakeholders such as neighborhood associations or homeowner’s association for your area. 
  • Signatures of support from at least 60% of those who are impacted by the project. City staff will identify the impacted stakeholders and residents and provide you with a map. 
How big is a small or medium sized project? 

NPP works with projects costing up to $500,000. 

Small project costing less than $150,000 require at least a 30% match from the community. 

Medium-sized projects over $150,000 and less than $500,000 require at least a 50% match from the community, and are expected to have a larger scale benefit to the community. 

How do I know if the land is City-Owned? 

Visit the Travis Central Appraisal District Website or use the City of Austin’s Property Profile Tool to search for a property. You can search by address, or use the map search to find the area you’re considering. Contact NPP if you are having trouble determining if a space is eligible for the program. 

I need help with my application, will you provide assistance?

Yes – based on availability, we can help you work through the application. You may not always know or be able to determine the answers for each section of the application. In some cases the City may need to assist you to determine budgets or discuss maintenance. If you have questions, or if you are struggling with any sections of the application, contact NPP and let us know how we can help. 

We can also present more information about NPP to your group or organization. 

My project idea does not qualify for NPP, what other resources can I look to for help with my local project? 

Austin Parks Foundation – ACL Music Festival Grants Program 

Cultural Arts Division – Funding Opportunities for Creative Industries 

Development Services Department – Urban Forest Grant 

Economic Development Department - Heritage Grant 

Keep Austin Beautiful – Beautification Resources 

Texas Parks and Wildlife – Recreational Trails Grants 

FAQs about the Neighborhood Cost Sharing Program 

How long does it take to complete a project?

Every project is different and timelines depend on the scale of the project and type of work. NPP aims to complete projects within 6 to 18 months after they’re approved (not when they are submitted).

What must be included in my Neighborhood Cost Share Program application? 

Examples of project applications can be found in the links at the NPP Project Summaries page

Your project application will include the following: 

  • Project goals – how the project will help your community and how the project supports the broader goals of the City. 

  • An estimate of the project budget. 

  • Some basic information about the organization or group applying. 

  • A plan to meet your cost-share. 

  • A maintenance plan (depending on the project). 

  • Evidence of community support. 

  • The location, basic description, and general size of the project. 

What is cost sharing and how can I meet this requirement? 

Below are the ways to meet cost sharing requirements. You can use a combination of these approaches. If you’re unsure how you might meet any of these requirements, feel free to contact NPP staff to discuss your options. 

Cash can be directly applied to the project cost-share. Applicants have 180 days to raise the funds from the time their project is approved. 

Grants that are not from another City program can also be used as a cash match under the cost-share program, as long as the granting organization approves that use. 

Volunteer Hours can be earned through building or installing parts of the project, and through other approved neighborhood volunteer activities. Volunteer hours are currently valued at the $25.43/hour. 

Professional Services donated towards a project are tasks that require special skills; such as engineering, design, landscape architecture or carpentry. These can be credited at fair market value, if an invoice for services is provided. 

Donations of materials and equipment are credited at fair market value.  

Maintenance Costs for the project and any utility costs assumed by the applicant can be counted for up to 2-years worth of those costs.

Who maintains the project once it's built? 

The City will maintain most infrastructure improvements, such as sidewalks or bike lanes. In most other cases, your organization is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep for the project’s life. 

How are Neighborhood Cost Share Program applications evaluated?

Neighborhood Partnering Cost Share Proposals are evaluated with five goals in mind: 

Community Support – based on the community’s overall support of the project and their participation in the project. 

Cost Share Proposal – considers how much of the project cost is supported by the applicant. Applicants can exceed the minimum cost share requirements for any project. 

Quality of Life Enhancement – based on how much a project enhances the physical environment or positively impacts the neighborhood’s quality of life. 

Incorporates City Initiatives – considers how the project address an under-funded need, implement neighborhood plans, or incorporates City Goals.  

Geographic Distribution  – Additional consideration is given to areas that have not been granted NPP project awards in the past. 

Can I reapply if my project is not approved?

Yes - each round of applications is different. You may resubmit your original application or make adjustment to improve the application for consideration in a future round.

Are community gardens eligible for the Neighborhood Cost Share Program? 

Yes, community gardens are great projects for the Neighborhood Cost Share Program and are eligible for funding. Community gardens have special permitting and review requirements and will also need to go through the City’s Community Gardens Program. Contact NPP if you are interested in a community garden project. 

FAQs about Adopt-A-Median and Grant Assistance Programs 

What is the Adopt-A-Median program?

Medians are the strip of land that are often located between two directional traffic. In the past, residents have beautified medians with landscaping, bird houses, murals, and more.  

The Adopt-A-Median program has grown beyond just roadway medians. Now, projects that do not require City-funding and that are intended to improve right of ways or other City-owned land qualify for the adopt-a-median program. 

The “right of way” is public space that people use to travel; like streets, sidewalks, bridges, and alleys. Projects can also occur on other City-owned land, like retaining walls, trails, easements and underpasses. 

What is the maximum amount NPP will award in the Grant Assistance Program? 

The program can help fund up to 50% of the local match requirement for a separate grant. The applicant must be responsible for fundraising or otherwise providing the remaining portion. 

What types of grants qualify for the Grant Assistance Program? 

We will consider most types of grants that come from entities other than the City of Austin. The grant must be used for projects on public spaces to create a long-lasting benefit for local communities.