Washington County Riverboat Foundation awards nearly $630,000 in competitive grants

The Washington County Riverboat Foundation awarded $628,723 in grants to nine cities with Washington County and 13 other schools and organizations on Wednesday, May 15.

The City of Washington was awarded $425,000, and according to City Administrator Brent Hinson, their plan is to use the money for three major projects: $275,000 will be put toward the construction of the Wellness Park, $50,000 will be put toward redoing the main shelter house at Sunset Park and $100,000 toward the DIG (Downtown Investment Grant) program.

Hinson said without the help of the Riverboat Foundation, there would be far less projects to work on.

“It’s incredibly helpful. It really wouldn’t be possible to do a lot of things we’ve done in recent years in Washington without it,” he said.

The money awarded has to be used for capital purposes and is used to make improvements in Washington. Hinson said in the past, the money has been used for investments such as building the current library and purchasing the land that will house the future wellness park.

“It’s been indispensable as far as that goes and the progress we’ve been make here in Washington and we’re very appreciative of it,” he said.

The City of Kalona received $138,000, which City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said will go toward six main projects. The city is looking to update their quilt block signage, replace quilt blocks downtown, supply furniture for the pool at the Kalona Community Center, increase advertising and promotion for the Kalona Historical Society, pay off debt on the Kalona Community Center building construction and purchase a public message board.

The message board will be a digital sign between the post office and the fire station and will list a variety of community events happening in town. Schlabaugh said without the help of the grants, Kalona would not be able to accomplish these projects.

“The funds that we receive on the municipal side, and even on the competitive side, It allows us to be able to do things to be able to leverage our community,” he said. “It lets us do things that let us improve all of our community within Washington County that doesn’t impact the tax payers on their property tax bills.”

Also receiving funds from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation are:

• GIVE Foundation, $10,000 for charity golf tournament

• Hills-Atrium Village, $3,072 for Care Center handrails

• City of Wellman, $7,590 for senior dining refrigerator and range

• Friends of Lake Darling, $3,500 for Wildlife Camp

• WCDC, $13,401 for a kitchen upgrade

• Lone Tree Community Foundation, $20,000 for Heat the Vets

• Highland Community School District, $24,813 for lifelong fitness and CPR

• Washington School District, $82,000 for windows at Lincoln Elementary

• Washington County Fair, $75,000 for cattle barn construction

• Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department, $3330,000 for construction of new fire station (to be paid over two years)

• Mid-Prairie School District, $34, 865 for take it outside-greenhouse

• Keota School District, $14,482 for school safety

• Ottumwa Fire Department, $10,000 for river rescue boat

Grants were also given to the nine cities in Washington County:

• Washington $425,000

• Ainsworth $34,000

• Brighton $39,000

• Coppock $800

• Crawfordsville $16,000

• Kalona $138,000

• Riverside $60,000

• West Chester $8,600