In seven years, the amount of money presented in grants has grown by a million dollars.
Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation (PACGDC) presented City Awards, School Awards, mini grants, grants and city per capita grants last Saturday, March 2. PACGDC is the non-profit corporation holding the license for Wild Rose Casino & Resort. Highlight of the night was a special award.
"We started with $900,000 the first year," said Skip Wallace, president of the PACGDC Board. "Look at this number: $1,932,747.13. We want to continue going up every year from now on."
Toward the end of the award announcements, Wallace and Amy Rubel, Wild Rose Casino & Resort General Manager, made a special presentation.
"We started, a few years ago, putting money into a reserve account," said Wallace. "That money is for projects like assisting Palo Alto County Economic Development. We provided incentive funds for the old Skyjack building. We set this aside for special projects. When we find something that's worthy, we can go ahead with it. And we have a special award tonight."
"On behalf of Gary Kirke and Dr. Mike Richards, they send congratulations to all the grant recipients," said Amy Rubel. "It's a wonderful night. We're hoping to hit that $2 million mark next year."
She announced that Wild Rose has partnered with PACGDC to purchase a Sunshine Van through Variety Club of Iowa. The van will have the Wild Rose logo and the PACGDC logo.
"The Sunshine Van will be going to Horizons Unlimited," she announced.
Amid the cheers from the Horizons group, Wallace added, "This is one of the things we can do with the reserve funds."
Variety Club of Iowa has granted Sunshine Coaches (specialized vans) to provide transportation for agencies that work with children's hospitals, youth at risk, disabled kids and needy infants and children. Wallace and Rubel will be in Des Moines next Sunday, March 10, for the Variety Club Telethon.
Awards to cities and schools kicked off the evening of grant presentations. This year, PACGDC presented awards of $350,000 to cities and $200,000 to schools.
"We wanted to make sure every school district got something and they could choose how they spent the money," said board member Lloyd Petersen. "We worked with several different formulas and came up with something that we hope will work out for everybody." The school awards are based on a per-pupil formula.
Emmetsburg Community School was awarded $77,500. Emmetsburg Superintendent of Schools John Joynt said the funds will be used to purchase library furnishings in the new addition at West Elementary School. Funds will also be used to purchase a graphing calculator, and to improve the security at the schools to make buildings more secure for the students.
West Bend-Mallard Community School received $37,900. Janeice Garrard, Elementary Principal, accepted the award. The funds will be used to purchase new math textbooks, supplement the summer school reading program and provide updates for the athletic fields.
Emmetsburg Catholic School was awarded $13,200. Principal Jean Hyslop said the funds will be used to purchase new playground equipment and to continue to upgrade technology.
Ruthven-Ayrshire Community School received $29,100. Principal Jon Josephson said the funding will go to three projects: reading materials for elementary reading programs, improvements for technology infrastructure and purchase text books for the math department.
Graettinger-Terril Community School was presented $42,300. Superintendent Jesse Ulrich said the funds will be used to build a state-of-the-art green house . They will also update furniture.
Awards, in addition to per-capita grants, were presented to Palo Alto County cities. These awards totaled $350,000.
City of Ayrshire was awarded $9,000. These funds will be used for repair and replacement of sidewalks in downtown Ayrshire. Phase 1 will be the south side; phase 2 will be the north side.
City of Cylinder was awarded $6,000. There are numerous projects that will benefit from these funds.
City of Curlew was awarded $4,000. These funds will go toward street repair.
City of Emmetsburg was awarded $159,000. City department heads submitted applications to the finance committee for evaluation. These funds will be used to improve the police station parking lot; purchase a mower for the recreation department for the flag football field; replace the sidewalk on the south side of the cemetery; supplement the insurance settlement to replace a pick-up truck that burned; purchase a fairway mower for the golf course; and provide money to the community center effort to cover the cost of construction documents and bid documents.
City of Graettinger was awarded $54,000. These funds will go to the library improvement fund; purchase network security cameras throughout the community for public safety; and the city is partnering with the state, county and Pro Cooperative Elevator to repair the railroad crossing.
City of Mallard was awarded $18,000. The funds will go toward the town's aging water system, and upgrade water meters.
City of Rodman was awarded $3,000. These funds will be used to improve the town's water delivery system.
City of Ruthven was awarded $47,000. The funds will be used to remove two downtown buildings to make way for economic development; and to upgrade city hall to make it ADA compliant.
City of West Bend was awarded $50,000. The funds will be put toward a radio read metering system for water, and early warning siren system.
Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation was presented $60,000.
"In the past year we used these funds for marketing," said Harry Bormann. "We worked with Emmetsburg, the Board of Supervisors and PACGDC to bring Aluma to Emmetsburg. We also used revolving loan fund for the Picray Welding expansion, and we still have funds. Palo Alto County Economic Development is currently working with two different companies that will put a transmission line across Palo Alto County. There are a lot of exciting things going on in Palo Alto County."
Excitement was generated throughout the Wild Rose Ballroom as awards were presented to 58 Palo Alto County organizations. The top five grants were presented to county fire departments and trail projects.
Cylinder Fire Department was awarded $80,289.75 to help build a new fire station.
Lost Island Protective Association received $64,875 for phase 5 of the Lost Island Trail project.
Mallard Volunteer Fire Department was presented a grant of $63,750 to help purchase a rescue pump trick.
Five Island Trail Committee received grant funds of $62,000 that will be used for phase 2 of the trail.
Emmetsburg Volunteer Fire Association received $48,150.75 to be used for truck bay extension.
A complete listing of the 2012 Grant Awards will be printed in a special section in The Democrat this Thursday, March 7.