Behind scenes, grant writer found $$ for big projects

City of Covington grant writer Meganne Robinson is leaving the City and going west.

Robinson leaving to go west; City seeking applications

COVINGTON, Ky. – Grant writer Meganne Robinson will soon leave the City of Covington knowing that her work behind the scenes was critical to moving forward a number of important projects.

Take, for instance, the Restoration Trades School in the works in Latonia.

“We currently have three funded grants specifically for that program,” Robinson said. “My dad went to a trade school, and it provided a good living for us when we were growing up. It’s so important and it can change people’s lives.”

There’re also the improvements at Barb Cook Park.

“In May 2019, I submitted an application to the state Land and Water Conservation Fund. It was funded in February 2020 and we’re getting it to construction, with bids going out next month,” she said. “It will fund Phase 2 of the Barb Cook Park redevelopment, including basketball courts, parking, another picnic shelter, grills, and a water fountain. It’s been a long process, but I’m really happy it’s moving forward.”

And then there was the $137,000 she helped secure from the Kentucky Department of Libraries and archives for a huge digitization project of City property records.

But now Robinson is moving on, leaving her role with the City next week to become the assistant to the city manager of Delta, Colorado.

Covington is accepting applications for Robinson’s position. The job opening can be found HERE.  

Covington City Manager Ken Smith said he knew during Robinson’s interview three years ago for what was then a newly created position that she’d be a good fit in Covington.

“I was on the interview committee that recommended Meganne,” said Smith, who was then a Department director. “I was impressed with her resume and past work with local governments in West Virginia.”

Her success at looking under proverbial rocks for outside funding has helped Covington in many ways, he added.

“Meganne has worked on countless grants ranging from funding from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for our K9 Police to six-figure grants for our parks,” he said. “She has brought additional resources to almost every department in our City, allowing us to do more for the citizens without increased taxes.”

“I am truly happy for Meganne to take the next steps in her career,” he said, “and Delta (Colorado) is lucky to have her.”

´╗┐While in Covington, Robinson created a grant screening tool for departments to use when seeking grants, what she describes as the “who, what, when, where, and why – with space to document outcomes and input.”

“Grant writing is kind of a foreign subject to a lot of people,” she “When someone approaches you and says they need a grant, they don’t always know that they have to explain why it needs to happen and exactly what they’re going to do with the money.”

Many City departments already applied for grants, but Robinson has brought additional energy, time and expertise to that process and has helped free up their time to actually implement the project.

“They’re the subject-matter experts,” she said. “I take their knowledge and help them get funding to implement their projects.”

That’s a humble perspective, considering Robinson has helped bring in $700,000 in grants (with the City awaiting word on significantly more funding whose applications she has in the works).

One person who worked with her, Battalion Chief Joseph Bowman of the Fire Department, praised Robinson.

"Meganne's commitment to the City proved invaluable, which was evident while working with her on multiple fire department grant projects,” Bowman said.

Helping bring big dollars to communities like Covington is rewarding work, she said.

“When I was in grad school, I thought I wanted to work for the federal government, in a Congressional office,” said Robinson, who has a master’s degree in public administration. “Then I realized that what I really wanted was to work on the local level. The change you see is more immediate, and you know the people you’re working for, and that’s important to me.”

While living in Parkersburg, W.V., she worked as a project coordinator for 22 municipalities and eight counties. But her hometown of Webster Springs was not among them, and Robinson believes in serving where you live. While she’s looking forward to having a national park 30 minutes from her new home and the Grand Canyon just six hours away, she said she’ll miss that aspect of her time here.

“It’s what I love about Covington – I’ve been working to serve a place where I live and that is just so important to me,” she said. “Covington is such a cool, quirky, and welcoming place. There’s just something going on all the time, and I don’t think that happens everywhere.”

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