The City of Kalona received the largest share of spring grant funds awarded Wednesday by the Washington County Riverboat Foundation. The City received grants for two projects: $554,300 for the …
The City of Kalona received the largest share of spring grant funds awarded Wednesday by the Washington County Riverboat Foundation. The City received grants for two projects: $554,300 for the SouthTown Recreation Park and Trail, and $50,000 for the 2023 Student-Built House project.
The WCRF awarded 25 grants totaling $1,630,255 on May 17 after the conclusion of their meeting at Wooden Wheel Vineyards in Keota.
“SouthTown has got big plans out there,” WCRF President Steph Sexton said as she announced the grant for the City of Kalona. “We would like to help get you started with the trailhead, the dog park, and public restroom project for $554,300.”
The City applied for a grant last fall for the trailhead project and did not receive one; however, this time, “We were very successful in our applications,” City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh told The News after the award announcement.
“It’s kind of phase one of an enormous project that will take years to develop, but this will allow us to really kickstart that trailhead area. That will be the focal point that we’ll be able to branch off of with all those other amenities. This will get us going,” he said.
The $3.35 million project involves the development of 95 acres of recreational land south of the English River gifted to the City in March. Plans include a trailhead with restrooms, open-air picnic shelter, playground, naturescape, dog park, and four segments of paved trails constructed to ADA standards.
The second grant the City received will contribute to the 2023 Student-Built House project, which will see a duplex built at 313/315 C Avenue this summer by local students.
“The goal is to make a project that can be sustainable year over year over year,” Schlabaugh told The News. “We’ll reinvest those funds, hopefully time and time again, to help meet a low- to moderate-income [housing] need, and also try to help supplement getting kids into the trades, or the professional side of home building with architecture, landscape design, civil engineering, all those things. It’s a neat project.”
The Mid-Prairie Community School District and Highland Community School District were also among those granted funds Wednesday night.
Mid-Prairie received $39,863 to purchase band instruments, mainly sousaphones and tubas, for student use.
The new instruments will “increase accessibility for middle school families because some students can’t afford instruments,” Lauren DiGiorgio, Middle School Band Director, told The News.
“They’re instruments everybody uses,” David Kunz, High School Instrumental Music Teacher, agreed.
Highland received $37,000 for classroom door locks. The school sees a need to keep technology in the classrooms secure, but the locks currently on their classroom doors are cumbersome to use and “just a nuisance.” The total cost to replace 50 locks is $72,000, so the grant funds will go a long way to fund the upgrade.
PAWS & More animal shelter received a grant of $30,000 toward architectural and engineering service fees they will incur as they begin construction on a new shelter building.
“We’re another step closer,” Director Amber Talbot told The News. “It’s so exciting.”
The remaining spring grants were awarded as follows:
Washington County Conservation, $250,000 for the Marr Park shower house.
Washington County Genealogical Society, $4,843 for a digital microfilm desktop reader.
Washington County Fair Association, $29,028 for a Washington County Fair sign.
Keota Community Schools, $5,000 for automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
Washington Community Schools, $120,000 for high school baseball lights.
Louisa County Sheriff’s Office, $9,999 for a search and rescue UTV.
City of Crawfordsville, $17,460 for ballfield upgrades.
Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers, $25,000 for historic streetcar restoration.
Saint James Elementary School, $83,281 for school windows.
City of Letts, $2,500 for rubber mulch for the community park.
Washington County Historical Society, $27,400 for Conger House Museum restoration.
Opera House Inc., $75,000 for tuck-pointing and brick repair.
Weekes-Van Eck VFW Post 3949, $11,000 to replace floor coverings.
City of Martinsburg/Keokuk County, $49,844 toward a new Town Hall.
Hawkeye Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, $3,400 for COPE/climbing equipment.
Healing at English River Outfitters, $2,337 for the HERO lodge project.
Keota Community School, $100,000 for an elementary playground.
Iowa Mennonite Benevolent Association, $63,000 for fitness equipment and communication system.
Give Foundation, $15,000 surprise grant.
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