In July 2014, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) launched an innovative competitive grant program, known as the Greened Acre Retrofit Program, or GARP, to encourage the implementation of green infrastructure on private non-residential property. GARP’s structure was intended to encourage a 3rd party such as a contractor or design/construction firm to compete for grant funding by aggregating and bringing to PWD the lowest-cost retrofit opportunities available on private land.
Two years after the launch of GARP, there is interest, including from PWD, in understanding how GARP could engage a larger number of firms to submit GARP applications and how GARP could better encourage more vegetated stormwater practices.
SBN’s GSI Partners recently supported the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to conduct interviews of roughly 20 firms to better understand their perceptions of GARP and to hear first-hand what changes to the program structure would make it easier for them to submit GARP applications and prepare project plans with a stronger focus on the top 4 preferred tools in PWD’s Stormwater Management Guidance Manual.
Recommendations to improve GARP developed from our stakeholder interviews have been shared with PWD, and we look forward to continuing the conversation and offering our support on implementing improvements to the program.