Grant talks

H/M Tax Board finalizes award choices

The Hotel/Motel Tax Board met Wednesday night at city hall to decide how they wish to distribute grant monies to local applicants. The board’s recommendations will be presented to the Webster City City Council on Monday, Dec. 19. The council will have the final say on how the H/M Tax grant monies are distributed. The board heard presentations from the eight finalists Tuesday evening at city hall. Board member Kyle Swon was absent.

“The purpose of our gathering tonight is to award the funds after we listened to the presentations last evening,” said Jean Fox, H/M Tax Board member.

Currently there is $170,162 in the H/M Tax grant monies budget. According to Fox, the City Council has advised the board to keep a balance of $40,000 in the budget after the awarding of funds. Therefore, the board has $130,162 to potentially award to the eight current finalists.

“All the presentations, I thought, were excellent. Everyone is passionate about their project,” said Fox.

ACE Community Center-All Cultures Equal requested $23,900 in funding to be put towards two signs, one of which will be electronic, and to assist with marketing support. The board motioned to award ACE partial monies. The board made a motion to recommend ACE receive $18,600.

“I would fully fund ACE because I feel like the quality of the work they’ve done to rebrand themselves and refocus their energies shows growth,” said Rojas. “I think anything we can do to support continued growth there is good for everyone.”

Rojas also mentioned the new road by ACE will bring in more traffic to the east side of Webster City. If ACE has proper signs, it will help enhance their income and visibility.

The American Legion Post 191 requested storage for the Avenue of Flags equipment and flags. The Legion is unsure if they will rent an existing building, build a new one at an estimated cost of $35,000, or utilize another option for storage. The board made a motion to put the Legion’s request on hold until the next round of H/M Tax grant monies award cycle.

“Not that we wouldn’t want to support it,” said board member Keri Rojas, “but they really aren’t ready yet. They don’t know how much, if any they’re going to need.”

“At the rate this thing is going, it could be we could consider this request at the next cycle,” Rojas said.

Arts R Alive in Webster City requested $3,600 on behalf of Arts R Alive for marketing costs. The marketing will be used for music, two new sculpture pad bases, and artists at the Arts R Alive Sculpture Event this August. The board made a motion to recommend Arts R Alive receive the full $3,600 requested.

“I’m very impressed with the progress and professionalism that we’re are starting to see from Arts R Alive,” said Rojas. “I think we should fully fund it.”

Fox seconded Rojas’ sentiments.

“I really appreciate seeing the art,” said Fox. “It’s kind of fun to see a little emphasis put on the arts.”

Briggs Woods Golf Course/Hamilton County Conservation Board requested $50,000 on behalf of the Briggs Woods Golf Course/Conference Center. The board made a motion to recommend they receive $25,000. The board decided to recommend the awarding of partial monies because they are seeking funding from other sources and they can re-apply for more grant monies during the next award cycle.

“I feel, if we give them the opportunity, they’re going to build this anyway. If we’re in on it with them, that helps sell the city,” said Andy Sowle, board member. “I think it will enhance the city.”

“I think of any of them, that’s going to bring huge numbers of people to town,” said Fox.

Legacy Learning Boone River Valley requested $19,640 to be put towards marketing, workshops focused on downtown revitalization, and an artist in residence program. The board made a motion to recommend LLBRV receive the full $19,640 requested.

“This is a project I would like to see fully funded,” said board member Linda Conaway.

“I think there is a real step forward in their thinking and organization,” said Rojas. “The fact that they are tying it into the downtown revitalization is brilliant.”

“I thought their presentation was really well done,” said Sowle. “It’s the best one I’ve see from them.”

The Webster City Area Chamber of Commerce and Iowa Antique Network requested $2,825 for marketing costs for JunqueFest. The board recommended the chamber and Iowa Antique Network receive their full request.

The Webster City Lions Club requested $35,000 for the Lions Park revitalization. The first phase of the plan involves buying the playground equipment. The $35,000 will go fully to phase one of the Lions Club’s project. The board recommended the Webster City Lions Club receive full funding.

“I thought they did a nice presentation. Someone has really done their homework,” said Fox.

The entire board was impressed with how the park could serve the community and youths of all skill levels.

“The thoughtfulness that they’ve put into this for all kinds of kids with disabilities is amazing,” said Rojas.

Sowle stated the Lions Club project was his personal favorite because he has a young family and would make use of the new park.

“I think it enhances the community so well. That area, if you go around town there’s not a lot of parks,” said Sowle. “If a family has special needs this is the one place they can come to.”

“It brings so much pride to the community,” Sowle said.

The Wilson Brewer Historic Park Committee requested $21,619.20 to be put towards improvements and rehabilitation of the Wilson Brewer Historic Park. The board recommended the group receive its full funding request.

“I think this is a very worthwhile project,” said Conaway.

“I’m really impressed with what is happening at Wilson Brewer,” said Rojas.

A total of $191,584.20 was requested by the eight finalists. After Wednesday evening’s discussion by the board, they are recommending a total of $126,284.20 be awarded.