Douglas County announces delayed Heritage Conservation Council grant program is now accepting applications

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

The Douglas County Courthouse is pictured Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.

Applications are now open for the Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council’s Natural and Cultural Grant program, which has nearly $300,000 available to distribute this year, the council announced in a press release Wednesday.

The grant program will offer a total of $285,000 in funding, $75,000 of which is earmarked for projects related to Douglas County’s Open Space Plan. The council is seeking applications that focus on the conservation of cultural, natural, agricultural or environmental resources, or projects that produce educational programs or products about these topics.

During a typical year, the HCC might be approaching the final stages of application review by now. But the grant program was delayed for 2023 as the council sought a new leader to manage the program. That new leader, Heritage Conservation Program Coordinator Kaitlyn Ammerlaan, began the job at the start of the month.

After the delayed start, the new deadline to apply is May 4, and a timeline on the county’s website notes that final recommendations for grant awards are expected to be forwarded to the Douglas County Commission for consideration at a commission meeting in late May. Interested parties are also required to discuss their project with Ammerlaan by April 21 and can schedule a meeting by contacting her at

All projects must take place in the county and be completed within two years of receiving funding. Douglas County-based entities like nonprofits, businesses, schools, universities or units of local government are eligible to apply. Any agencies or organizations that aren’t locally based must partner with a Douglas County agency.

According to the release, projects must fall into at least one of the following categories to be eligible for funding:

* Elevate under-told stories or magnify the narratives of Indigenous communities, immigrant or refugee populations, BIPOC, LGBTQIA or marginalized groups; give visibility to little-known places; or record oral histories.

* Focus on prairie, woodlands, waterways, habitat restoration, preservation, cultural landscapes, or recreational and historic trails; inform the Open Space Plan process; or audit existing conservation efforts with a lens of diversity, equity, justice and inclusion.

* Focus on agriculture, such as agritourism, heritage farms, high-quality agricultural soils or working farms.

* Focus on adaptive reuse of historic structures; access to historic sites and cemeteries; or conservation of designated structures, districts and landscapes.

The county will host a public information session from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St., in Meeting Room C for those interested in the grant program. Attendance isn’t required to be eligible to apply, though. The application is available on the county’s website at


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