Grow Greene County distributes $1.2 million in charitable funds

(Edited April 9 to correct error in allocation to Greene County Schools.)

Transforming the Rippey in gymnasium into a fire station and city maintenance shed is closer to becoming reality with an $80,000 grant from Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation. The grant was the largest competitive grant awarded at Grow Greene County’s third annual Awards Night April 3 at Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson.

A total of $1.2 million was awarded, bringing the total of charitable funds awarded by Grow Greene County since Wild Rose opened in 2015 to $3.5 million.

Attendees at the Awards Night included Grow Greene County board members, representatives from the contiguous counties, communities, schools and organizations receiving the awards. Light refreshments preceded the ceremony at which Grow Greene County president Norm Fandel served as master of ceremonies.

In his opening comments, Fandel noted that Grow Greene County received more than $2 million in requests in this grant cycle. Fandel said it was difficult to select which grants to fund. “It was not an easy process for our board, but we had a lot of great discussion on how to distribute the funds to so many great projects,” he said.

The decision was based on the level of community support for the project and the likelihood of the project being completed. Fandel said the board hopes to see some of the same applications again next year. “They certainly have great stories to tell and great projects to finish,” he said about the unfunded applications.

Grow Greene County awarded a total of $524,889 in competitive grants as follows:
• Rippey – Repurposing the gym to a fire station and city shed, $80,000
• Jefferson Matters: Main Street Tower View Team – Arch Alley, $54,425
• Scranton, shelter with restrooms at Memorial Park (former school playground), $47,264
• Jefferson park and recreation department – Replace gym floor at the community center, $45,900
• Paton – Paved walking trail from Main St east to Pit Stop, $39,300

Paton-Churdan Schools  $24,000. Paton-Churdan principal Annie Smith said the money will be used for remodeling and updating the media center.

The allocation to school districts is based on enrollment . Last year Greene County received $158,400. This year, in light of the $4.5 million commitment for the gymnasium and performing arts center at the new high school, Greene County waived receiving a per pupil allocation.

Greene County Development Corporation received $50,000 for economic development activities. Greene County Medical Center received $20,000, the third of five payments on a $100,000 commitment for the expansion project; and Thomas Jefferson Gardens received $50,000, the third and final payment on a commitment for completion of the Welcome Center.

The Greene County Community Foundation received $140,000 to distribute to smaller projects. Click here for an earlier post about how those funds were distributed.

Funds are distributed to Greene County towns on a per capita basis. Uses for the funds this year include purchasing a mower and trimming equipment in Churdan, refurbishing a building adjacent to the Grand Junction Community Center for storage, an updated comprehensive plan in Jefferson, and more.

Funds totaling $139,344 were distributed as follows:
• Churdan – $16,204
• Dana – $2,984
• Grand Junction – $34,599
• Jefferson -$40,000
• Paton – $9,913
• Rippey – $12,258
• Scranton – $23,386

Under agreement with Wild Rose Entertainment Inc., Grow Greene receives five percent of the local casino’s adjusted gross gaming revenues to distribute to nonprofit, governmental and charitable organizations. Of that total 4.1 percent went to projects in Greene County and 0.9 percent was shared equally by the community foundations in the six counties contiguous to Greene County.

This year, the community foundations in Boone, Calhoun, Carroll, Dallas, Guthrie and Webster counties each received $41,803 ($250,818 total). Representatives from those counties reported their use for the money. Uses ranged from fire and ambulance equipment to amenities on the Raccoon River Valley Trail. Webster County will use a portion of their money for a women’s shelter that will also serve Greene County residents.

All grant recipients thanked Grow Greene County and Wild Rose for the funds. A Grow Greene County press release stated, “Wild Rose Jefferson is a gift to west central Iowa that keeps on giving. A glance at the list of recipients of this year’s grants, and their dollar amounts, makes clear that Greene County residents made a wise decision in their strong approval of the county’s gaming referendum a few years ago. We’re in a unique position among Iowa’s counties, funding nearly $1.5 million worth of grants for Greene and surrounding counties this year again. We’re anticipating many beneficial project opportunities in the years to come.”

The Grow Greene County board of directors includes Fandel, vice president Craig Marquardt, secretary Peg Raney, treasurer Bob Allen and board members Lori Mannel, Brenda Muir, Kate Neese and Rick Morain. Board attorney is Mike Mumma and Cindy Duhrkopf is part-time administrative assistant.

Grow Greene County board and grant recipients
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