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Vision Iowa Grant A Boost For Community Building

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Facility Would Be Built On Mills County Fairgrounds

By Joe Foreman, Editor

Fundraising efforts for the $2.55 million community center building proposed for the Mills County Fairgrounds in Malvern got a major boost last week when the Vision Iowa board announced its intentions to award a $480,000 Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grant to the project.

Pledges totaling $2.27 million have now been received for the project, leaving the Mills County Fairgrounds Building Committee $280,000 away from securing full funding for the project. The Vision Iowa grant comes with the stipulation that remaining funds be raised within 120 days.

“The $480,000 was really a nice grant to receive,” fairgrounds committee member Chad McCollester said. “With the 120 days, we basically have until about Aug. 1 to come up with the remaining funds.”

McCollester and fellow fairgrounds building committee member Woody Wright said now is the time for individuals who have been holding off on making a pledge or donation toward the project to step forward. The committee is pursuing other grants but believes most of the remaining funds will come from individual donors.

The project has been in the works for three years and several major donations have been pledged, including $1 million from the Charles E. Lakin Foundation, $50,000 from Mills County Farm Bureau, multiple grants from the Mills County Community Foundation, several corporate and individual gifts and a $100,000 donation from a family that will have naming rights for one of the meeting rooms in the facility. Wright said naming rights for another meeting room in the building are still available.

The 16,000 square-foot Charles E. Lakin Community Center will be a climate-controlled building on the south side of the fairgrounds that would be utilized for a variety of activities during the county fair, such as project judging, fair queen pageant, style and talent shows. It  would feature a full kitchen, bathrooms, storage areas, utility room, attached bathroom and shower facilities. The facility would also serve as an events center and large social hall that could be rented and utilized 12 months out of the year.

The structure would serve as a storm shelter / emergency housing center and the ISU / Mills County Extension and Outreach Office.

If the remaining funds needed are raised by Aug. 1, Wright said the facility could be built by late 2016.
Potential donors can contact  McCollester (712-525-9201) or Wright (402-740-4028). Donations are tax deductible and can be made over a period up to five years.