The city of Bexley has filed applications for six grants from the Bexley Community Foundation's (BCF) small-grant program, according to Mayor Ben Kessler.

The city of Bexley has filed applications for six grants from the Bexley Community Foundation's (BCF) small-grant program, according to Mayor Ben Kessler.

Kessler said the city is hoping to secure grant funding for one or more of the following programs:

• Safety Town. The educational program is put on by Bexley police officers for children in the elementary schools. The city applied for a grant to help pay for equipment and supplies for the safety town curriculum.

• Citizens Police Academy. Police Chief Larry Rinehart wants to put together a program to provide a series of classes for residents to help them become better acquainted with the agency and with neighborhood safety initiatives by participating in a variety of police training and discussions on police policy and practices. BCF grant funds were applied for to help provide supplies and materials for the "academy."

• Formation of a Community Improvement Corp. (CIC). One of the recommendations of the Bexley Land Use Strategy was to form a CIC to serve as an economic development agent of the city. A CIC can hold, purchase, and sell real estate in a much more flexible manner than the city. Many surrounding communities have used CIC's when confronted with complicated or challenging development situations. Control of the CIC is vested in a combination of publicly elected officials and appointed members, providing an opportunity for qualified and interested residents to help facilitate the city's development initiatives. BCF grant funds could help pay for the initial setup of a Bexley CIC.

• Brick sidewalk for Jeffrey Mansion. Currently there is no route for pedestrians approaching Jeffrey Mansion from Parkview Avenue, other than to walk on the main driveway. The city has applied to the BCF for funds to construct a brick sidewalk from the Parkview sidewalk to the mansion's front entrance.

• Kayaks and related equipment for Alum Creek recreational programming. The city is concurrently seeking grant funding from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to create a formalized access point at Jeffrey Park and Schneider Park for canoes and kayaks. Meanwhile, an application was filed with the BCF to help acquire kayaks and boating equipment to allow residents who don't have their own boats to be able to explore Bexley's Alum Creek.

•Bexley Community Brand. The city, in conjunction with the Bexley Public Library, the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce, and other partnering Bexley institutions, has applied for grant funding to help the coalition begin the process of creating a unified Bexley brand strategy that would provide Bexley's institutions with a focused, on-message tool for promoting the community of Bexley and its organizations. Kessler said that "by presenting the positive, robust foundation of the Bexley community via a revamped Bexley brand, the community will benefit from increased visibility, consumer engagement, and desirability. This in turn will help drive residents, businesses, and consumers to the Bexley market."

Kessler said the BCF grants are important to the Bexley community.

"The BCF grant funds are an incredible asset to the community, regardless of which applicants are successful at securing grant funding," he said. "In times like these where all budgets are tight, these grants enable organizations like the city to work on projects that are important to the community but would otherwise be impossible due to funding constraints."

Kessler said collaboration with other community organizations will be important in the future.

"Increasingly, our success will be directly proportional to our ability to work in tandem with other community organizations towards our common and basic goal - the betterment of Bexley," he said. "So one great aspect of this grant process is the way in which it has encouraged Bexley organizations to be more collaborative and, in doing so, to be more focused on the bigger picture of what's best for the overall community, not just for our individual organizations."

Applications for the initial round of grants, with a maximum value of $5,000 each, were due March 5.

All applications were to reflect the foundation's mission to "enhance Bexley as a special place to live, work, learn and play."

BCF Program and Grants Committee co-chair Judith Brachman said 17 applications for grants at a total of approximately $65,000 were received by the deadline.

"We are pleased to receive such an enthusiastic response from the Bexley community," she said. "The program and grants committee, which is composed of community volunteers in Bexley, will be reviewing the applications and making recommendations to the foundation board for its approval.

"The proposals reflected a wide range of needs and interests in Bexley," Brachman said. "The program and grants committee will be evaluating each proposal thoroughly to integrate the goals of the foundation with the goals of the applicants. We anticipate the board making a decision on the grants in late spring or early summer."

She said the grants wouldn't be possible without the donors who support the BCF.

"We are appreciative of the generosity of the foundation's donors and the goodwill of all the residents of Bexley, as we work together to sustain Bexley as a very special place to live," she said.

In September 2011, the foundation awarded its first five small community grants to: the Bexley Farmer's Market for a health and wellness initiative; the Bexley Community Garden to improve and expand the garden; the city of Bexley and Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce for a 2012 summer concert series, "Music on Main;" and the Bexley Public Library for its homework help center and for early literacy programming.

The BCF is a tax-exempt public charity founded in 2010 that is governed by a broadly based 15-member board of directors. The foundation links donors with Bexley causes, supporting community-based groups and programs with grants and other assistance.