VINTON — Hours of discussions and meetings paid off for the City of Vinton and its plans for the future of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School (IBSSS) grounds.
During Thursday evening’s city council meeting Chris Ward, Vinton city administrator, shared that the city was the recipient of two awards from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
The total award was $2 million dollars. The city is the recipient of a Vacant State Demolition Grant in the amount of $1 million, along with a $1 million in Vacant State Rehabilitation Loan.
Ward explained that the rehabilitation loan comes in two parts. “Those funds are divided as $500,000 as 0% loan and $500,000 forgivable loan,” he explained.
In a letter to the City, Deborah Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, explained that the forgivable loan will be five years after the project has been completed, “contingent upon completion of all contractual requirements. Loan monies can be utilized for rehabilitation of buildings on the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School campus, provided that ownership of the site is transferred from the state to the community.”
Although the City also receivd the demolition grant, there is no actual demolition being planned.
During a meeting with Jim and BJ Hobart in November, council members were told that monies would be used to rehabilitate the buildings on campus.
The pair explained there was upkeep that needed to be completed in several of the buildings.
As an example, Jim Hobart explained that the barn would need to be gutted and then rebuilt on the inside.
Projects of that type could be undertaken with the funds from the demolition grant.
While the city has received written notification of the two awards, “the contracts have not been fully prepared,” Ward explained to the council. “Once we receive those, the mayor can sign them.”
With the grants received, the IBSSS project will be able to take the next step forward.
“There was a lot of hard work by many people that made this possible,” Bud Maynard, Vinton mayor, said during the meeting. “This is a good thing for the community and I believe that this will jump start some other things in the community.
“I am definitely excited about this for our community,” he added.
“People like Pat Baird, Dennis Lasaur and Melissa Schwan spent several hours working to make this happen,” Maynard added.
“Also the lobby group that the city worked with was very beneficial. They were able to tell us who we needed to speak to and point us in the right direction.”