Rapid Response Design Assistance Program


In 2016, the Pennsylvania Wilds Planning Team developed an Early Detection and Rapid Response Design Program for key projects in the region that would benefit from design assistance. This program provides immediate response to critical design issues.
Design Assistance funds are available for architectural, historic façade research and preservation, and graphic design services by a design or architectural professional. Potential projects are directed to the Planning Team’s Design Guide Awareness Committee, which then works with the County Planner in which the project is located, in order to review the project and recommend assistance to the developer or project proponent.


The PA Wilds is known for its strong sense of place. Our region’s rural and historic character are part of what makes us attractive to visitors and residents, so it is important for us to be good stewards of these characteristics.
The Pennsylvania Wilds Design Guide: A Design Guide for Community Character Stewardship, now in its second edition, published in 2017, was created with this in mind. The PA Wilds Design Guide for Community Character Stewardship, is a voluntary planning document that highlights how communities in the PA Wilds can protect or enhance their rural character as they grow – whether that growth is due to tourism, resource extraction, or other industries.
The Design Guide is a great resource for developers, planners, architects, business or property owners, revitalization partners and community leaders and all applicants must consult the guide prior to applying for funds. The Design Guide is available here.


A local municipality or county located within the PA Wilds region. Non-profits will also be considered for funding however we strongly encourage obtaining co-sponsorship from the local municipality or county.


Critical design projects having the most community wide impact that require immediate response in terms of securing design or architectural professional services. Projects must be located in the PA Wilds region and be supported by the local county working through the County Planning Office.


  • Projects must be located in the PA Wilds region
  • Project requires quick turn around and assistance with implementing Design Guide principles.
  • Project is supported by the local county & applicant is working w/ that County’s Planning Office
  • No other source of financial assistance is available or funding timeframe too long / miss opportunity.
  • Funding requests must not exceed $5,000
  • Design assistance must be consistent with the design guide principles set forth in the Pennsylvania Wilds Design Guide: A Design Guide for Community Character Stewardship
  • Applicants must demonstrate ability to successfully implement project
  • No set matching funds are required however some local contribution to project is preferred. Matching funds can be public or private. In-kind services will also be considered as local contribution.
  • Applicant must demonstrate ability to complete project in a timely manner.


There will be a cap of $5,000 per project. All funds must be used solely for design assistance services. No monies will be allowed for administrative or other non-related expenses.


Projects will be reviewed and ranked based on project meeting program requirements, amount of funding leverage, community impact, project outcomes, level of project support & collaboration, project timeliness, and applicant’s ability to successfully implement project.

Application for Rapid Response Design Assistance

  • Please describe the applicant's experience and ability to administer grant funds.
  • Describe the need for the project or service you will be providing and language as to how your "need" fits the PA Wilds Early Detection and Rapid Response Design Assistance Program requirements.
  • Describe in detail the project for which you are applying.
  • Describe the goals you plan to achieve and project outcomes.
  • Provide a timeline that includes a work plan, and responsible parties for completing tasks and dates.
  • Provide a detailed budget breakdown of project items and/or services, identify all funding sources including amounts of leveraged funding.
  • If applicable please provide organization names and qualifications of partnerships associated with your project.
  • Please provide a letter signed by either the County Commissioner or Planning Director showing the County's support for the project. The letter can be emailed as a pdf to [email protected]
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.