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Palo Alto County Celebrates Grant Awards Night

By Staff | Mar 4, 2008

BIG WINNERS AT THE WILD ROSE - Over 400 Palo Alto County residents attended the Second Annual Grant Awards Night held Saturday evening, Mar. 1, in the ballroom at Wild Rose Casino & Resort in Emmetsburg (above photo). The Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation (PACGDC) hosted the event. Non-profit groups throughout Palo Alto County submitted 91 grant applications to the PACGDC, and the board provided partial or full funding for 69 of those requests. -- Lori Martinez photo

Palo Alto County communities and organizations received another economic shot in the arm when the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation (PACGDC) hosted the Second Annual Grant Awards Ceremony on Saturday, Mar. 1. A total of $1,586,903.37 was distributed among Palo Alto County non-profit organizations and each of the nine communities. The much-anticipated event was held at the Wild Rose Casino & Resort Ballroom.

“Last year we stood here, and out of 122 grants that were submitted to our office, we were able to fund 48 of them. This year, we received 91 grant applications, and I’m happy to say we will either partially or fully funded 69 of them,” said Bill Lapczenski, president of Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation (PACGDC). “Again this year there were more requests than we had money for.”

Those 91 grant applications totaled $2,661,389 in requests.

Lapczenski continued, “We hear a lot about the winners down on that gaming floor, but I think the biggest winner is Palo Alto County.”

Lapczenski thanked Gary Kirke and Mike Richards, owners of Wild Rose Casino & Resort, for signing the contract to give six-percent of their profits back to the community–a larger amount than is required by law.

Each of Palo Alto County’s nine communities received one-sixth of the amount given to PACGDC. The $260,198 was distributed on a per-capita basis. The cities of Emmetsburg, Graettinger, West Bend, Ruthven, Mallard, Ayrshire, Cylinder, Curlew, and Rodman will use their funds for programs and projects fitting the grant agreement.

The remaining $1,326,705.37 was awarded to grant applicants.

Patty Cook, PACGDC board member, thanked everyone for attending the evening’s ceremony.

“We’re happy to have over 400 people here tonight,” Cook noted. “All we ask is that when you’re at coffee or working to put that playground equipment together to just remember if it weren’t for Wild Rose Entertainment, we wouldn’t be giving away $1.5 million tonight.”

“…a lot of good things going on…”

“I’m excited,” said Jan Endicott, one of the Cylinder Heritage Center representatives who accepted their award. The Heritage Center received a grant for $17,853. “We’ve going to use the grant money to side the church and the fellowship hall.”

Endicott explained that J.S. Construction was chosen as the contractor, and work on the project would begin as soon as possible.

Emmetsburg’s Main Street Community Theater accepted an $11,400 grant award.

“We’re extremely pleased and very happy,” noted Brent McAllister, Main Street Community Theater board president. “We’ll now be able to go to a good sound system, which we desperately need, as well as a new Clavinova [digital piano].”

“It’s awesome, it’s just fantastic,” said Cecilia Miller, Executive Director of the Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce. “Through the Chamber and our various entities, we actually had seven applications that we put in and six of them were funded. So, it’s really exciting. We’ve got a lot of good things going on.”

Among the Chamber-driven projects that received grants are: $21,789 to the Beautification Committee for Main Street and park beautification, $18,566 to the Palo Alto County Celebration Corporation for the county’s sesquicentennial celebration, $9,000 to the Chamber of Commerce for the Independence Day fireworks display, $3,756 to the Emmetsburg Retail Association for event notification portable signs, $12,000 to the Iowa Welcome Center for renovation of the Community Room, and $27,609 to KEMB-LP Radio Station to upgrade equipment and install a higher tower.

KEMB-LP General Manager Jennifer Meyer shared, “We’ve got a used broadcast board that we purchased when we started the radio station, and it’s worked fine for some applications. However, we’ve started to expand what and how we broadcast to the point where we need a larger board. We’ve very thrilled to get that.”

“Another thing that we are doing with our grant funding is working to put another tower to get our antenna up higher to cover more of Palo Alto County,” added Ron Seaman, KEMB-LP volunteer. “If we have a higher tower, then the fringe areas south of Mallard and down in the low lands of Graettinger will get a much cleaner signal, and we’ll be able to serve them better.”

Ron Hersom, post commander of Emmetsburg’s VFW Post #2295, was overwhelmed by the announcement that the VFW had received a $36,715 grant.

“We needed the grant badly for resurfacing the parking area and for a new dishwasher for the kitchen,” said Hersom. “We’re just trying to keep the VFW in good repair because it’s used like a community center with our Lenten fish frys and other events. We’re very lucky to get this grant.”

Hersom related that work will likely begin in the spring with Frank Kliegl completing the cement work on the project. The schedule for the blacktop surfacing is dependent upon when the city’s street work is completed this summer; the same company will be used for both.

One of the larger amounts awarded to a community entity was $52,500 to the City of Emmetsburg Parks & Recreation Board for the enhancement of Kearney Park.

“We’re planning on upgrading the electrical, replacing the dock for public use, and upgrading the campground,” explained Bill Dickey, Public Works director. “The Park Board has been planning this for many years. A couple years ago we replaced the bathrooms and added a storm shelter there and this will help us with one more step.”

During Saturday night’s ceremony, the Palo Alto County Fair Association received $19,534 for upgrading the livestock show pavilion at the fairgrounds.

“We are very thankful for this award, because it will allow the Association to re-roof the livestock pavilion at the fairgrounds,” noted Dan Voigt, treasurer of the Fair Association. “The pavilion and its’ eight-sided construction are a landmark and a long-standing part of the history of our county fair. With this grant, it will be able to serve the people of Palo Alto County for a long time to come.”

Maureen Elbert, Executive Director of Kossuth/Palo Alto Counties Economic Development Corporation, was beaming.

“We’re so excited!” she said.

Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation received grant funds of $75,000 to help establish a revolving loan fund.

“We have a lot of business inquiries,” Elbert said. “This is very progressive and now we’ve got the funds to make things happen.”

Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation also received a $56,250 grant for marketing concepts for economic development.

“We’ve already got a marketing plan going, now this will help market Palo Alto County,” Elbert said.

Looking Ahead

“I was very pleased with how Saturday’s event flowed,” surmised Bill Lapczenski, who will chair PACGDC for another year. “The Wild Rose staff did a great, as well.”

Lapczenski said that the board was absolutely thrilled with the outcome.

“The board member’s expertise, time, and talents are greatly appreciated,” he stated. “A lot of hard work went into reading and scoring the 91 grant applications.”

Serving alongside Lapczenski, are Vice President Lloyd Peterson, Secretary Norlyn Stowell, and Treasurer Skip Wallace. Other members include Patty Cook, Tracey Mattice, Don Miller, Nate Newhouse, and Kay Suhr.

“I thought we had great distribution throughout Palo Alto County,” said Lapczenski. “I hope those organizations that weren’t funded will re-apply for the third round of funding.”


2008 PACGDC Grant Recipients


PER CAPITA CITY GRANTS: City of Ayrshire $7,389 City of Curlew $2,263 City of Cylinder $4,033 City of Emmetsburg $144,412 City of Graettinger $32,811 City of Mallard $10,876 City of Rodman $2,055 City of Ruthven $25,942 City of West Bend $30,417


IOWA LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE $16,084 Virtual IV Training System for Nursing and Paramedics Program


EMMETSBURG RETAIL ASSOCIATION $3,756 Event Notification Portable Signs


WEST BEND FIRE DEPARTMENT $75,000 Pump/Tank Truck


HORIZONS UNLIMITED OF PALO ALTO COUNTY $33,781 Embroidery Machine


PALO ALTO COUNTY EXTENSION $4,500 Farm Safety Education


CITY OF AYRSHIRE $15,000 Community Center Parking Lot & Landscaping


CITY OF GRAETTINGER $52,711 Playground Equipment at Citizen’s Park


IOWA LAKES COMMUNITY COLLEGE $10,112 Smith Wellness Center Swimming Pool Cover


EMMETSBURG CHAMBER OF COMMERCE $9,000 Fireworks Display


PALO ALTO COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION $75,000 Revolving Loan Fund


NORTHWEST AGING ASSOCIATION $2,500 Project Lifesaver Tracking Equipment


RODMAN FIRE DEPARTMENT $37,065 Truck Extrication Equipment and Protective Gear


AMERICAN LEGION POST #162 of GRAETTINGER $31,211 American Legion Building Renovation


WEST BEND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION $1,195 Industrial Park Billboard


VICTORIAN MUSEUM ON MAIN $12,000 Basement Repairs


PALO ALTO COUNTY SHERIFF’S RESERVE $6,563 Radios and Protective Vests


CITY OF EMMETSBURG-Parks & Recreation Board $52,500 Enhancement of Kearney Park


KEMB-LP RADIO STATION $27,609 Upgrade Equipment and Tower Installation


GROTTO OF THE REDEMPTION $9,193 Theater for the Museum Building


RUTHVEN-AYRSHIRE COMMUNITY SCHOOL $19,956 Elementary Computer Work Stations


GRAETTINGER COMMUNITY SCHOOL $12,783 Science Lab Improvement


FIVE ISLAND TRAILS COMMITTEE $33,500 Trail Development


GRAETTINGER LITTLE LEAGUE $11,250 Baseball & Softball Field Improvement


UPPER DES MOINES OPPORTUNITY, INC. $9,375 Quality Child Care Initiative Activity Totes


CITY OF RUTHVEN $7,350 City Entrance Signs


PALO ALTO COUNTY EXTENSION $900 Babysitting Training Clinic


PALO ALTO COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION $56,250 Marketing Concepts for Economic Development


MALLARD FIRE DEPARTMENT $23,256 Jaws of Life and Protective Gear


RUTHVEN-AYRSHIRE COMMUNITY SCHOOL $5,080 Sound Equipment & Basketball Backboard in Gymnasium


EMMETSBURG JUNIOR BASEBALL CORPORATION $5,287 Riding Lawn Mower


CITY OF RODMAN PARKS & RECREATION $1,875 Shelter House Completion


SPRING HILLS COUNTRY CLUB $13,321 Six Used Golf Carts


CYLINDER FIRE DEPARTMENT $30,813 Fire/Rescue Response Vehicle Upgrade


PALO ALTO COUNTY EXTENSION $2,950 LEGO Mindstorm Robots


PALO ALTO COUNTY CONSERVATION BOARD $8,737 Outdoor Amphitheater at Lost Island Nature Center


PALO ALTO COUNTY COMMUNITY HEALTH $3,000 Infant Car Seats & Supplies for Stork’s Closet Program


PALO ALTO ARTS COUNCIL $9,000 Mosaic Wall at Emmetsburg Community School


CYLINDER HERITAGE CENTER $17,853 Siding and Windows


IOWA LAKES COMMUNITY COLLEGE $7,750 Communications and Smoke System for Emergency Training Center


EMMETSBURG COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION $15,750 Business Park Marketing


V.F.W. POST #2295 of EMMETSBURG $36,715 Resurface Parking Lot; New Dishwasher


CITY OF EMMETSBURG, BEAUTIFICATION COMMITTEE $21,789 Main Street and Park Beautification


EMMETSBURG CATHOLIC SCHOOL $34,774 Computer Lab Update & Classroom Presentation Stations


WEST BEND PUBLIC LIBRARY $3,238 Light Replacement Project


CURLEW DEVELOPMENT COMPANY $7,214 Updating the Community Center


EMMETSBURG CATHOLIC SCHOOL $3,225 Gas Convection Oven for Food Service Department


WEST BEND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE $14,310 Playground Equipment at West Bend-Mallard School


GRAETTINGER BENEFITED FIRE DEPARTMENT $6,022 Speaker Mics and Lockers


EMMETSBURG VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT $14,967 Rescue Equipment


PALO ALTO COUNTY HEALTH SYSTEMS $7,875 Jump Kits for E.M.T.s


WEST BEND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION $75,000 Construction of New Home to be Sold with Proceeds used for Revolving Loan Fund


PALO ALTO COUNTY EXTENSION $3,000 Clover Kids After School Program


GRAETTINGER COMMUNITY SCHOOL $21,975 Agriculture Department Technology


WOLVERINE DEN CHILD CARE CENTER $9,277 Equipment & Building Improvements


ST. PAT’S IRISH DANCERS $1,181 Performance Attire


IOWA WELCOME CENTER $12,000 Community Room Renovation


FIVE ISLAND LAKE RESTORATION BOARD $45,000 Lake Dredging Project


PALO ALTO COUNTY SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT $13,346 ATV, Seed Drill & Trailer


WEST BEND HISTORICAL SOCIETY $9,375 Survey of Palo Alto County Historic Resources


GRAETTINGER BUSINESS CLUB $9,498 Fencing for Little League & Softball Fields at Citizen’s Park


MALLARD PUBLIC LIBRARY $1,864 Training Computer & Equipment


GRAETTINGER COMMUNITY SCHOOL $8,373 Evergreen Park Improvement


PALO ALTO COUNTY HEALTH SYSTEM $9,000 Health Program & Speaker


MAIN STREET COMMUNITY THEATRE $11,400 Sound System & Digital Piano


CITY OF RODMAN $13,816 City Hall & Community Center Remodeling


PALO ALTO COUNTY CELEBRATION CORPORATION $18,566 Palo Alto County Sesquicentennial Celebration


PALO ALTO COUNTY FAIR ASSOCIATION $19,534 Upgrade Livestock Show Pavilion


EMMETSBURG MUNICIPAL AIRPORT $72,946 New Terminal Building


GRAETTINGER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL $49,254 Purchase Building to be used for Boys & Girls Home and Medical Clinic