Grow Greene holds inaugural spring awards ceremony

Edited April 12 with additional information

More than $358,000 in competitive grants, total of more than $900,000 awarded

Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation, the local non-profit corporation that holds the state gaming license in Greene County, distributed more than $900,000 in commitments for awards and grants (some of which are multi-year projects) at its inaugural spring awards ceremony April 4 at Wild Rose Casino and Resort in Jefferson.

Some 120 persons, including Grow Greene board members, representatives of award recipient organizations, media and the general public attended the event. Grow Greene president Norm Fandel was master of ceremonies.

Many of the award amounts had already been announced. The recipients of the competitive grants were announced for the first time Monday evening. After honoring all commitments, Grow Greene was able to award $353,425 in competitive grants in its first cycle.

Greene County conservation director Dan Towers (second from right) collected the check from (from left) Kate Neese, Brenda Muir and Craig Marquardt.
Greene County conservation director Dan Towers (second from right) collected the check from (from left) Kate Neese, Brenda Muir and Craig Marquardt. | Scranton Journal photo

Greene County conservation was the “big winner,” receiving $124,000 for crossings on the Raccoon River Valley Trail. Genesis Development received $77,925 for a new baler and conveyor for its recycling processing; the Bell Tower Community Foundation received $61,500 toward completing the four-octave carillon; the Churdan public library received $60,000 for its expansion/remodeling project; and the Jefferson fire department received $35,000 for self-contained air tanks.

The Greene County Community Foundation received $125,000 to distribute in grants for projects of less than $35,000. Those funds were distributed at an awards ceremony March 28.

Grow Greene has already announced a $100,000 donation paid over five years to Greene County Medical Center for the expansion/renovation project. Greene County Development Corporation received $50,000 for work on ongoing projects.

Schools and municipalities received funds on a per capita basis. Greene County Community Schools received $68,044 and Paton-Churdan Community Schools received $10,820.

The city of Jefferson received $50,000. (The city also receives a percentage from Wild Rose that will amount to more than $150,000 annually.) Jefferson officials will divide the money between the fire department air packs, new bells in the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower, downtown, Main Street and swimming pool improvements.

Other county towns receiving funds and their plans: Grand Junction, $10,053, street and pool improvements; Scranton, $6,795, community betterment projects; Churdan, $4,707, new park equipment; Rippey, $3,561, street repairs; Paton, $2,881, park and Main Street improvements; and Dana, $868, street work.

Grow Greene grant recipients
Grow Greene board with representatives of grant recipients  |  Scranton Journal photo

In its effort to win the gaming license from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, Grow Greene proposed sharing gaming proceeds with contiguous counties. Community Foundations in Boone, Calhoun, Carroll, Dallas, Guthrie and Webster counties each received $18,200 from Grow Greene.

Each foundation group was very appreciate of the donation and shared their plans for the extra funding: Boone, out of 48 applications, four will be funded with the Grow Greene County money; Calhoun, funding pushed their total to $1 million; Carroll, construction of a new County Rescue League Animal Shelter; Dallas, to be awarded for special grant later in the summer; Guthrie, two non-profit groups will benefit, Tori’s Angels to assist sick children and families and Prairie Woodland Conservation to pave three road crossings on the Raccoon River Valley Trail, and Webster, assist in $500,000 construction costs of a new fire station in Gowrie.

The funds distributed represent 5 percent of the local casino’s adjusted gross gaming revenues. The funds in this grant cycle are from approximately six months of operation at the casino, which opened in July 2015. Next year’s awards will be 5 percent of the next 12-month period of gaming revenues at Wild Rose Jefferson.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of an exceptional project, a project that will continue to give, deliver funds we can continue to share with our neighbors, improve and enhance the communities around us. Goals we have dreamed about for decades can now become a reality,” Fandel said at the awards ceremony. “Tonight is just the beginning of an exciting funding source we have the great opportunity to structure to establish a rewarding course for the future.”

The Grow Greene County board of directors is composed of eight voting members: Norm Fandel, president; Craig Marquardt, vice president; Peg Raney, secretary; Bob Allen, treasurer; and Lori Mannel, Rick Morain, Brenda Muir and Kate Neese. Michael Mumma serves as legal counsel to Grow Greene.

Grow Greene members (from left) Norm Fandel, Rick Morain, legal counsel Mike Mumma, Kate Neese, Lori Mannel, Bob Allen Brenda Muir, Peg Raney and Craig Marquardt
Grow Greene members (from left) Norm Fandel, Rick Morain, legal counsel Mike Mumma, Kate Neese, Lori Mannel, Bob Allen Brenda Muir, Peg Raney and Craig Marquardt  |  Scranton Journal photo

 

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