GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL — A lone cyclist rides along the Spring-to-Spring Trail, a portion of which runs alongside Grand Avenue in Glenwood. Trail segments like this one are one of many recreational and cultural amenities funded wholly or in part from the ECHO — that is, environmental, cultural, historical and outdoor recreation — and Volusia Forever programs. PHOTO COURTESY VOLUSIA COUNTY

It’s a bit of a mystery with a 22-year history.

The Volusia ECHO program, approved by voters in 2000 and 2020, provides funding for qualifying environmental, cultural, historical and outdoor recreation facilities. More than $91 million in grants has been awarded. But fewer than 7 percent of the grants have gone to environmental projects.

To increase the number of funded environmental projects over the next 18 years, the Volusia ECHO Advisory Committee will host a workshop to hear ideas and recommendations to understand the needs of environmental groups and identify ECHO program improvement opportunities that will lead to an increase in applications.

The workshop will begin at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 14, in the County Council Chambers of the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center, 123 W. Indiana Ave., DeLand. Presentations will be given in a “lightning round” format, with each speaker limited to five minutes and 10 slides.

Presenters should use the following questions as a guide for presentation development:

Relative to your organization, what is the most important current and/or future issue or need facing our community?

Has your organization applied for an ECHO grant? If not, explain why and how the program could evolve to meet the needs of your organization and our community. If yes, what worked well, and what could be improved?

List any potential projects envisioned over the next five years that could be supported through the ECHO program.

What is your organization’s biggest difficulty in applying for and securing an ECHO grant?

What changes and/or recommendations for program improvement should the ECHO Advisory Committee explore further?

Groups that would like to present must register by July 1 at www.surveymonkey.com/r/CQC2WWM. They also must submit a PowerPoint presentation either during registration or to echo@volusia.org by July 1.

For more information, visit www.volusia.org/echo or contact ECHO staff at 386-943-7081 or echo@volusia.org.

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— Compiled by Business Editor Joe Crews

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