Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2017

YMCA rescinds request for grant extension

By Xiomara Levsen | Jun 22, 2017
Y board member Rachel Nicola and CEO Amy Schulte and Washington County Riverboat Foundation board member John Conway listen intently to the discussion about the Y’s request for a grant extension from the Riverboat Foundation board.

 

After a long debate Wednesday evening, from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation Board, the YMCA of Washington County decided to rescind its request for a grant extension request for the $3.5 million it was awarded Nov. 19, 2015.

Before the board discussed the request, YMCA CEO Amy Schulte and YMCA board members Ed Weeks and Rachel Nicola presented the new two-phased building project to the board.

WCRF board president Dave Mitchell stepped out during the presentation and discussion because he had a conflict of interest since he is also the president of the Y board. Mitchell asked Mike Driscoll to preside over the meeting in his place.

John Conway, a WCRF board member, said while he supports the Y and its programs offered to the county, he didn’t support their request for a grant extension request when the request had all new building plans. The Riverboat Foundation wouldn’t have any control over the new plans if they approved this request, which would open up the board to other requests like this.

“I feel like John does,” WCRF board member Michelle Blum said. “I feel they should have to submit a whole new application for all or whatever they see fit because this is not the application that we agreed to. The discussion is the extension of the application, and this is a whole rework.”

WCRF board member Jarrod Longbine asked if the board made adjustments to grant extension requests in the past. Driscoll replied no, only to partial grant extension requests.

“John brought up a lot of points that I was going to make,” Driscoll said, “and I also felt the same way John did. I think for the most part we are all Y supporters. This grant caused a lot of discussion the last time it came through.”

It was biggest grant ever given, Driscoll added. Before the amount was awarded Driscoll said he and executive assistant Jim Logan made it a point to speak with board members to go over the grant agreement, so there weren’t changes going forward with the grant request. Driscoll pointed out that under grant requirements the project must be started on time as presented to the board and all conditions in the original agreement must be satisfied.

“The huge issue that we run into is we have an agreement based on an application that we can control,” Driscoll said. “We don’t have an application for what they just presented us. We have no control. I find it very, very difficult to give an extension – we have a legal document that’s signed by both parties that allows us to control where our $3.5 million goes based on what this board as a whole decided.”

The Y is building something that doesn’t complete what was presented to board originally, he added. The original application included the pool and in his opinion he felt the timeline was tough.

“And if we give you a grant extension of one more year – you’re [at] 18 months,” Driscoll said. “We have three more grant request periods between now and when you want to move dirt. That’s three opportunities to submit a grant application to this board for what you want to build. I just think that we’re treading some crispy waters if we put a grant extension to a completely different project that we don’t have a grant agreement to go with.”

Longbine said he understood where Driscoll was coming from but that contracts and legal agreements were changed all the time. Driscoll agreed, but replied both parties have to agree to it.

“I wasn’t here the first time around, but I have to wonder if the exclusion of a pool would make a difference on the funding or not, and I think that is a significant difference to the first and second application,” board member Dr. Mike Jorgensen said, “so I would agree it’s very different than what you approved.”

Board member Stephanie Schlabaugh said she was there for the first grant request from the Y and this was a big deal to everyone. Ten years was a long time to promise money for that the WCRF board didn’t have money for yet. Jorgensen asked Schlabaugh if she thought not having the pool as part of the original plans would have changed the outcome. Schlabaugh said she didn’t participate in that part of the discussion, but she remembered being surprised about that part.

Board member Shelli Cleverley pointed out what the Y is trying to do is the same but the specifics of it was the change and the grant agreement could be changed.

Longbine said if the grant extension wasn’t approved, this would put the Y further behind in their fundraising process for other grant requests.

“Yeah, but I also think it was a little presumptuous to go ahead and print marketing material with that extension when they didn’t have that extension approved already,” Jorgensen said.

Board member Tom Basten said the marketing material would still be accurate if the grant extension were approved.

Blum motioned to deny the grant extension request from the Y. Conway seconded it.

“I’m concerned about this motion hurting their fundraising going on right now,” Basten said. “Is there any reason why this motion has to be this month?’

Blum asked what would change if they tabled the decision to next month.

“Can the Y withdraw the request for an extension at this point?” board member Julie Berger asked Driscoll.

“I don’t have any reason why they couldn’t do that,” Driscoll said.

Y CEO Amy Schulte asked the board if that was an option at this point. Before she became CEO she said the Y board had discussed whether they should ask for an extension or apply for a new grant. The intent of the project was the same for the Y and the community, which is why they decided to ask for a grant extension. If withdrawing is an option, it would be something the Y board would discuss.

Board member Cathy Rich said she would hate to see this affect the Y’s fundraising negatively and the board negatively. She asked Blum if she would rescind her motion. Blum said yes, and Conway rescinded as well.

“We would like to withdraw our grant extension request,” Schulte said.

This decision was accepted by the WCRF board and the discussion ended.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jul 18, 2017 20:05

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