Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation, the local nonprofit corporation that holds the state gaming license in Greene County, distributed almost $1.2 million in grants at its 6th annual Awards Night, held in-person Tuesday evening at the Greene Room at Wild Rose Jefferson.
Of the total, $258,000 was in competitive grants, with Greene County Ambulance receiving $128,000 toward a new Type 1 ambulance. The city of Grand Junction was awarded $70,000 for resurfacing the gutters at the 60-year-old municipal swimming pool. The city of Paton received $30,000 for a new playground at the city park, and the Greene County Historical Society received $30,000 towards a new roof on the museum.
Grow Greene County awarded $125,000 to the Greene County Community Foundation for its grant-making. Information about those grants will be forthcoming.
Greene County Development Corporation received $80,000. GCDC board president Sid Jones reported that group is focusing on housing and assisting the Greene County Early Learning Center in its efforts to expand available childcare slots by building a new center.
Grow Greene County honored its three-year, $201,000 commitment to the Greene County Animal Shelter with its third check for $67,000, as well as giving the Greene County Early Learning Center $125,000 as the second installment of a four-year, $500,000 commitment.
Also in multi-year commitments, Grow Greene County gave the Greene County Community School District $165,000 toward its $4.5 million pledge for the gymnasium and auditorium at the new high school. This was the first payment towards that pledge.
Grow Greene County noted a $125,000 partnership with Wild Rose Casino for the scoreboard and video board in the new high school gymnasium.
The Paton-Churdan Community School District received $30,000 for use as the school board designates.
Greene County towns all received funds, with the first $33,000 available going to Jefferson and the remaining being allocated on a per capita basis. Those donations were as follows: Churdan, $13,814; Dana, $2,544; Grand Junction, $29,495; Paton, $8,451; Rippey, $10,450; and Scranton, $19,937.
Jefferson city administrator Mike Palmer said the Grow Greene funds have been budgeted for landscaping on the east Lincoln Way entry to the city, and for a study of the library facility as a preliminary step toward new construction.
The community foundations in each of the six counties contiguous to Greene – Boone, Calhoun, Carroll, Dallas, Guthrie and Webster – were awarded $35,350 towards their grant-making. Grow Greene County has awarded $223,340 to contiguous counties since 2015.
The funds disbursed by Grow Greene County come under the agreement with Wild Rose Entertainment Inc that the nonprofit receive 5 percent of the local casino’s adjusted gross gaming revenues to distribute to nonprofit, governmental, and charitable organizations. Of that total, 4.1 percent is distributed to projects in Greene County, and 0.9 percent is shared equally with the community foundations in contiguous counties.
The awards given out Tuesday evening represent gaming revenues at Wild Rose Jefferson during calendar year 2020. During the pandemic, all casinos in Iowa were closed for 10 weeks. That affected the amount of funds Grow Greene County had to award this year to the Greene County Community Foundation, municipalities, and contiguous counties.
Also during the Awards Night, Grow Greene County board member Peg Raney spoke about the Nov. 2 referendum on the Greene County gaming license. Per Iowa Code, a referendum is held eight years after a gaming license is awarded to allow voters an opportunity to vote again after seeing the impact of the casino on the community. The second referendum is the last chance voters have to approve or disapprove the license.
Raney, speaking to an audience of people who have received Grow Greene County funds, asked that recipients “talk up” the projects they’ve completed, to submit photos of projects for Grow Greene County’s website and social media, and to be sure signage is placed on completed projects.
April 7, 2021 GreeneCountyNewsOnlineTags: awards, Grand Junction, Greene County Ambulance, Greene County Historical Society, Grow Greene awards, Paton