Foundation awards $1.3 million in grants
By Xiomara Levsen
RIVERSIDE—The fall grant presentation for the Washington County Riverboat Foundation (WCRF) was held on Wednesday, Dec. 11.
Fifty-two grants were awarded totaling $1,365,787.
The highest amount given was $298,500 and it went to the Friends of Lake Darling to help with the cost to build three four-season cabins.
“We’re really thrilled. That’s what we asked for,” said Friends of Lake Darling board member Don Kline. “It will make it a more complete park. Obviously, it’s getting a lot of renovation right now, and this is kind of the cream on the cake.”
The building process for the cabins will begin next spring and hopefully they will open by next fall, Kline said.
The Kirkwood Community Foundation received $100,000 for classroom equipment at the Washington County Kirkwood Regional Center. Tera Pickens, director of the Washington County Kirkwood Regional Center, said every little bit would help toward making a student’s experience in the classroom labs better.
The grant will go toward buying equipment for classroom labs, Pickens said.
“This will be for programming from anywhere to our advance manufacturing to our graphics to our I.T. [information technology] labs to the whole wide range of classrooms we need to equip,” Pickens said.
The Riverside VFW received $105,000 to build a berm around its building. Commander Dave Frank said this would provide the VFW with some relief when it comes to flooding. Last spring the VFW had several feet of water inside their building.
“We’ve been looking for a permanent solution and this is going to help tremendously,” Frank said. “We’re planning on putting a wall up around the building, and this money is going toward that.”
The St. Joseph Parish in Hills was granted $80,877 for a handicap-accessible elevator. Cluster coordinator Carol Kaalberg was surprised the church received the full amount it asked for. When the amount was announced at the meeting, Kaalberg said, “Thank you,” and began to tear up.
“I was shocked and elated,” she said. “This will help us out so much.”
Currently, the parish uses an outdoor lift for parishioners who can’t go up the stairs, Kaalberg said.
“We’ve known and wanted an elevator for some time,” she said. “We use an outdoor lift, but in the wintertime it freezes. Another problem is our restrooms are in the basement, so getting people down there to them is a problem.”
The elevator is part of a bigger addition the parish is aspiring toward, Kaalberg said.
“We hope to have a new addition with offices and new restrooms on the main floor built,” she said. “The building is over 100 years old but is well maintained. However, the need for our parishioners is different at this time and this grant is huge for us.”
Eastern Iowa Honor Flight also received the full amount they asked for, in their grant application, of $52,500.
“This will fund one flight,” said finance officer for Eastern Iowa Honor Flight Roger Uthoff. “Since they’re [WCRF] the sponsor for this flight, we’ll focus mainly on having Veterans from the Washington County area on the flight.”
The date for the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight is set tentatively for April 22, Uthoff said. With the grant it will allow 90 – 100 Veterans and their guardians to be able to participate in the Honor Flight. This will be the second Honor Flight WCRF has sponsored and the 15th flight from the Eastern Iowa Airport.
WCRF board members who abstained from voting on grants included: Brenda Herrington from two grants for the Kalona Historical Society, and two grants for the City of Kalona; Ed Raber for grants awarded to the Washington County Mini Bus, two grants for the Washington Community School District, East Central Housing Trust Fund, HACAP, Washington Economic Development Group, and Washington High School Parent Teacher Organization (P.T.O.); Fay Vittetoe abstained from voting on grants for the City of Brighton, the Brighton Lions Club, and the Friends of Lake Darling; Liz Hall didn’t vote on a grant for the Highland Community School District; WCRF board president Patricia Koller didn’t vote on two grants for the Washington Community School District and the Washington High School P.T.O; and Stephanie Schlabaugh didn’t vote on grants two grants awarded to the City of Kalona.
During a regular meeting held before the grant presentations the WCRF board members discussed:
• approving the 2014 lease for the WCRF office for $530 a month;
• approving the spring application grant deadline for April 10, 2014, by 5 p.m.;
• approving the review of wording on the grant application when it comes to which category a grant would fall under. WCRF executive assistant Jim Logan said he receives a lot of phone calls from applicants asking which grant their application would fall under. Herrington suggested the wording be changed to the number of people the grant would impact or who it would impact;
• and tabled the director word terming until the next meeting. WCRF board vicepresident Mike Driscoll said the committee needed more time to review the wording.
The next WCRF board meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m. at the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort.