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Grant Awards Are A Boost To Economy

By Staff | Mar 3, 2009

GRANT AWARDS CELEBRATION -- Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation hosted the third annual Grant Awards Celebration last Friday. The banquet hall at Wild Rose Casino &?Resort was filled with county residents with hopes of having grant requests fulfilled. Over 100 grants were submitted and 93 qualified through the process. Seventy-five grant applications were fully or partially funded. --Lori Hall 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 Third Annual Grant Awards Ceremony on Friday, Feb. 27. A total of $1,663,302.19 was distributed among Palo Alto County non-profit organizations and each of the nine communities. The event was held at the Wild Rose Casino & Resort Ballroom.

Retiring PACGDC Board President Bill Lapczenski started the evening by thanking his fellow board members for all their hard work in reviewing the grant applications. Serving alongside Lapczenski are Lloyd Peterson, Norlyn Stowell, Skip Wallace, Patty Cook, Tracey Mattice, Don Miller, Nate Newhouse, and Kay Suhr.

“This third cycle we received 108 grants in the mail and through the process, 93 of them qualified,” said Lapczenski, retiring president of the board. “Of those 93 grants, 73 grants will be fully or partially funded. That’s a little over 80 percent.”

Lapczenski mentioned that those grants that didn’t qualify were mostly due to problems with documentation.

“We’re under strict rules with the IRS [Internal Revenue Service] and IRGC [Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission], and if you don’t have the documentation required, we must disqualify them,” Lapczenski noted. “We strongly encourage all those who didn’t make it to apply again next year.”

Lapczenski then turned the ceremony over to new Board President Lloyd Peterson.

“I just want to remind people to go through their checklists when applying for grants. If possible, tell us more about your projects,” Peterson stated. “For the last few months, the board has talked about putting money into a reserve fund or foundation. Maybe we can help out with some economic development projects. We haven’t decided what we’re going to do yet, but if we do, it will be brought out at the educational meetings and will be posted to our Web site.”

Each of Palo Alto County’s nine communities received one-sixth of the amount given to PACGDC. The $277,217.02 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 $1,386,085.17 was awarded to the chosen grant applicants. Amounts ranged from $75,000 for a hybrid/dual fuel heating system for Emmetsburg Catholic School to $1,011.36 for landscaping around Ruthven’s community signs.

Last year, $1,586,903.37 was awarded to 69 grant recipients.

Reactions of Recipients

“We are beyond excited!” said Lana Williams, vocational director at Horizons Unlimited, after learning that Horizons had been awarded a $69,988 grant for an ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] restroom and renovation of Day Habilitation. “Our restrooms were in horrible condition and this is an opportunity for us to rejuvenate them. It’s something that was really needed and it will help move Horizons forward.”

Iowa Lakes Community College and the Smith Wellness Center were awarded three grants–$32,692 for the cardiovascular room, $8,250 for the aerobic room floor, and $1,695 for an automatic door opener for the Wellness Center Library Complex.

“We’re tickled,” said Deb Knight, assistant to the Wellness Center director. “This is going to be great for us. The grant will help to improve everything out there. The Wellness Center has been open for 12 years and, so, equipment needs to be updated. This will be wonderful for us.”

Emmetsburg Community Schools received $69,232 for “Laptops for Learning.”

“The grant will help put a laptop cart in each of our school buildings,” said Emmetsburg Community Schools Superintendent John Joynt. “Each cart contains 30 laptops that can be rolled around to the classrooms, used, put away, and recharged for the next class. We’re excited to have that.”

and Rodman will use their funds for programs and projects fitting the grant agreement.

The remaining $1,386,085.17 was awarded to the chosen grant applicants. Amounts ranged from $75,000 for a hybrid/dual fuel heating system for Emmetsburg Catholic School to $1,011.36 for landscaping around Ruthven’s community signs.

Last year, $1,586,903.37 was awarded to 69 grant recipients.

Reactions of Recipients

“We are beyond excited!” said Lana Williams, vocational director at Horizons Unlimited, after learning that Horizons had been awarded a $69,988 grant for an ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] restroom and renovation of Day Habilitation. “Our restrooms were in horrible condition and this is an opportunity for us to rejuvenate them. It’s something that was really needed and it will help move Horizons forward.”

Iowa Lakes Community College and the Smith Wellness Center were awarded three grants–$32,692 for the cardiovascular room, $8,250 for the aerobic room floor, and $1,695 for an automatic door opener for the Wellness Center Library Complex.

“We’re tickled,” said Deb Knight, assistant to the Wellness Center director. “This is going to be great for us. The grant will help to improve everything out there. The Wellness Center has been open for 12 years and, so, equipment needs to be updated. This will be wonderful for us.”

Emmetsburg Community Schools received $69,232 for “Laptops for Learning.”

“The grant will help put a laptop cart in each of our school buildings,” said Emmetsburg Community Schools Superintendent John Joynt. “Each cart contains 30 laptops that can be rolled around to the classrooms, used, put away, and recharged for the next class. We’re excited to have that.”

Emmetsburg will have two new community entry signs, thanks to matching grant monies.

“Thanks to the grant money, we can continue with our community entry signage,” said Jane Whitmore, a member of the Emmetsburg Sign Committee. “Our first stone sign grouping welcomes travelers on the west edge of Emmetsburg. This year we will complete signs to the south on property owned by Horizons Unlimited, and to the east on Wild Rose Casino &?Resort property.”

Emmetsburg Catholic School received two grants. “We are very excited and feel very blessed that these funds are available to us,” said Principal Jean Hyslop. “It impacts our children in a very positive way.”

With the technology grant, the school will add on to what they started with grant funds last year.

“We will be able to continue to upgrade our technology and keep somewhat current to meet the ever increasing technological demands society puts on our students. Technology is a big part of life now and we need to be able to keep up to date.”

Emmetsburg Catholic School will soon be going “green” with a hybrid/dual fuel heating system.

Principal Hyslop noted, “The greatest impact on students and staff would be an enhanced heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system that provides improved environmental quality. By going green, the impact on Palo Alto County reaches beyond the school and parish itself. Each of us who makes a concerted effort to use energy wisely contributes to the well-being of the total environment. Improving air quality and going green enables Emmetsburg Catholic School to step forward and become part of the solution to air quality and energy conservation in Palo Alto County.”