Riverboat Foundation gives over $1 million
RIVERSIDE — Out of over 80 applications the Washington County Riverboat Foundation received for its winter grant cycle, 52 groups received funding with a total grant output of $1,100,489.
The largest grant given Wednesday was $204,300 to the Blair House Non-profit Corporation for roof replacement. Member Mike Zahs said that the group has been working on the roof for many years.
“We have started at the top and are working our way down to put a historically accurate roof on Blair House,” he said. “When we started we were looking for every penny. Now we can put one on that is similar to the one that was put on when it was built in 1880. It is a significant building architecturally nationally, and now it will look like it.”
Mid-Prairie School District received five grants for everything from iPads to a new students center, to weight equipment. Superintendent Mark Schneider, also the superintendent of Keota School District, said that the grants will extend student programs.
“We allow staff members the freedom to write – to think of new products and to write grants for those projects,” he said. “It’s an indication of the initiative and creativity of the staff to come up with great ideas that the foundation is willing to fund.”
Washington County Hospital received $76,148 for a echocardiogram machine. Brandice Armstrong, EROB director, said that the machine will allow use of the machine at all times.
“Currently we are leasing a machine from a company and we thought it would be great to have continuity of care and have it available,” she said. ‘We asked the Riverboat Foundation and they blessed us with this check.”
The City of West Chester received $17,925 that will be used to help remove five abandoned buildings in town as part of a neighborhood improvement project. Sue Janecek, city clerk, said that the houses had been empty for over 10 years.
“The animals have inhabited them and they are not safe,” she said. “In a small town we don’t have the finances to do projects like that. I have had three mayors now that have tried to get this done. With this funding we are going to make that happen.”
She said the city is going to give the property owners clean lots and hopefully, the owners will rebuild on the property. She said the project will help the town get revitalized.
The deadline for applications for the foundation’s spring grant cycle is 5 p.m. March 14.
During a business meeting before a banquet in which the grants were given, the board members unanimously approved the list of grants, with a few foundation members abstaining from votes if which they were directly involved. Member Ed Raber abstained from any vote pertaining to the Washington School District. Member Ron Slechta abstained from a Kalona Chamber of Commerce vote. Member Mike Driscoll abstained from a vote on the Knights of Columbus. Member Tracy Ousey abstained from a vote on the Washington/Wellman Y. Member Adam Richards abstained from votes on the Mid-Prairie High School. See page 3 for a full list of the grants awarded.