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Supervisors Elect to Not Provide Funding to YMCA for Enhance Iowa Application

Posted: Wednesday, June 20th, 2018 at 6:25 am
Author: Sally Y. Hart - KCII News

Unanimously the Washington County Board of Supervisors decided to not provide any financial backing for the YMCA’s request for an Enhance Iowa application.

At Tuesday’s meeting the supervisors considered the $20,000 request from the YMCA which would help leverage potentially $900,000 from Enhance Iowa for their new $9.2 million Washington building project. Supervisor Jack Seward said he couldn’t support giving taxpayer money to the project, “I said it three years ago in a letter, I said it now, the YMCA is an absolute worthwhile project. It is demonstrated by the number of people and the amount of money that have been privately given but that’s where it belongs – privately given for these things. Be nice to have, it’s wonderful. If I would’ve known any of the kids that wanted to go and play I would give money out of my own pocket.”

City Administrator of Kalona Ryan Schlabaugh who serves on the Y board explained the non-profit organization provides opportunities, “Right now the Y serves a lot of individuals that don’t have a choice with their lot in life. They don’t have a choice that they’re in a family that can’t afford services outside of the basic necessities. There’s a little girl in Kalona right now that’s going to swim lessons, her family can’t afford that, the Y is providing that for them. Two months ago I went to a meeting in Chicago for the Y. And I’ll be honest, when I first got on the Y board it was out of necessity, it was out of a need because the City partnered with the Y, I wasn’t their biggest supporter. I champion for them now, because it is important. Because they meet a need that we as a county need to meet.” Currently $7.9 million has been raised through grants and private donations for the project.

Previous projects the board of supervisors have donated funds to for Enhance Iowa applications include the Washington Area Performing Arts and Events Center, the Kalona Community Center, the Wellman Parkside Activity Center, the Kalona downtown revitalization project, the Washington Free Public Library, and the Washington County Conservation Center totalling $130,000.