Casino nonprofit awards $2.5 mil

Published 11:10 pm Monday, April 18, 2011

The Freeborn County Historical Society was one of several nonprofit organizations to receive a grant from the Worth County Development Authority during its awards banquet Sunday night. Pictured from left are Kim Koenings, WCDA executive director; Pat Mulso, Freeborn County Historical Society executive director; and Dick Nelson, vice president of the Freeborn County Historical Society board of directors. -- Submitted photo

NORTHWOOD, Iowa — The Worth County Development Authority on Sunday awarded more than $2.5 million in grants during its semi-annual banquet at Diamond Jo Casino.

WCDA Executive Director Kim Koenings said $1.7 million was awarded in education grants, and $846,000 was given out in Worth County and other regional grants.

This brings the total given out by the WCDA — the nonprofit co-licensee for Diamond Jo Casino — to more than $18.5 million since its inception five years ago.

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“It’s pretty amazing to watch it keep going,” Koenings said.

The WCDA receives 5.76 percent of the casino’s annual gross revenue.

Kim Koenings

Twice a year, the WCDA distributes money from the Diamond Jo Casino to organizations and individuals locally and regionally.

Annually, 7 percent off the top of the nonprofit’s funds goes to Worth County. Then 47.5 percent goes to education and 47.5 percent goes toward other projects.

Schools that receive funds are Northwood-Kensett, Central Springs, Lake Mills, Forest City and St. Ansgar.

Thirty-four projects in Worth County received awards, including the Northwood Senior Center for a $5,200 electrical upgrade and the Northwood Public Library for a Beacon automation project totaling $6,350.

The Worth County Izaak Walton League was awarded $9,450 for new trap shooting equipment and $1,800 for a refrigerator and freezer.

The city of Northwood received almost $11,000 for improvements to its pool. Worth County Extension Service received almost $13,000 for a 4-H livestock scale. London-Deer Creek Cemetery received almost $3,500 for a gravel driveway and fence, and Worth County beautification received about $24,000 for cement for beef barns, among others.

Regional awards included about $1,400 for new windows for Shell Rock Township, about $1,500 for a computer at Glenville United Methodist, about $3,300 for updating pagers with Lake Mills ambulance service and about $9,200 for museum lighting upgrades at the Freeborn County Historical Museums.

“We are very excited,” said Freeborn County Historical Society Executive Director Pat Mulso. “This is the largest grant we’ve received from Worth County, and it’s going to make a huge impact on us updating our exhibits.”

The museum will be able to purchase more than 300 energy-efficient lighting fixtures, valances and lamps, including 283 for the main museum building and 65 for the red barn exhibit building.

The energy upgrades are a little more than $19,000,” Mulso said. With some rebates from Alliant Energy and the WCDA grant, the museum will only have to pay about $3,000 in cash.

She noted it will save the museum $2,500 a year on electricity costs. It will also be another step forward toward getting the building up-to-date and ready for the addition to the building.

Overall, Koenings said, she and the WCDA board would have liked to give out more funds, but they ran out of funds.

Applications for the second grant round for the year will be available to fill out Aug. 1 and will be due Sept. 15. The next grants will be awarded Nov. 15.

After that, applications will be available in 2012 on Jan. 1 and then will be due Feb. 15, with awards given out April 15, 2012.

Grant recipients have one year from their awarded date to complete the projects. If the projects are not completed, all funds are required to be returned to the WCDA.

Information about the WCDA can be found at