GENEVA – The Kane County Riverboat Grant Committee approved $739,926 in grants to 32 applicants June 14.
These included $21,000 to Campton Township for its project to relocate and make structural repairs to the historic Whitney Schoolhouse; $25,143 to the city of St. Charles for engineering costs for its Seventh Avenue Creek improvement project; $13,686 for the Geneva History Museum for facility upgrades; and $9,535 for Suicide Prevention Services in Batavia for roof and skylight replacement.
The annual allocation of riverboat revenue, nearly $2.8 million this year, comes through the county’s agreement with the Grand Victoria in Elgin. The committee divides the money between external applicants – such as nonprofits and local governments – and internal applicants within the county itself, officials said.
“One of the things we strive to do as a committee is balance the projects in the north, south and middle party of the county,” committee chairman John Hoscheit, R-St. Charles, said.
The committee considers applications as they apply to the environment, education or economic development, Hoscheit said.
“Every application has its own merit,” Hoscheit said. “We are trained to look at taxpayer dollars and government spending. ... These are not taxpayer dollars, in the sense that they are not derived from property taxes or income taxes. We are really fiduciaries in managing it.”
Committee members amended the final proposal to add $2,549 of leftover funds to the $18,571 earmarked for the Campton Township project.
Committee member Bill Lenert, R-Sugar Grove, advocated for the additional allocation based on the amount of … work being donated to the schoolhouse project.
“Drew Frasz … has agreed to donate the excavation of that at no cost. Also the Boy Scouts of America agreed to do all the painting there, at no cost,” Lenert said. “Campton Township [residents] are really behind this and want to see this happen.”
Frasz, a Republican county board member from Elburn, owns a A. E. Frasz Inc., in Blackberry Township, an excavating company.
Lenert also noted the project also has the support of County Board Member Barb Wojnicki, R-Campton Township.
Hoscheit said the committee usually did not support municipal applicants.
“We’ve generally refrained from funding municipal requests to the extent they are functions that are normally municipal obligations,” Hoscheit said. “In this instance, I think what we are looking at is … [this is] not a typical municipal function.”
Committee member Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, said perhaps the leftover funds should go to students or veterans who don’t have a taxable income.
“Campton Township is a well-off area compared to other areas in our county,” Hernandez said.
Hoscheit said the committee allocates on the basis of the environment, education, economic development and for people who need resources, such as the Literacy Connection, food banks, Association for Individual Development, Habitat for Humanity and the Community Crisis Center.
“Historically, we’ve done more than a fair job of accomplishing what you are suggesting,” Hoscheit said.
All of the applicants received less than what they requested, such as the Geneva History Museum, which sought $30,000 to replace its HVAC system, install LED lighting, a keypad door entry, new door and replacement flooring.
Still, Executive Director Terry Emma said the grant allocation of $13,686 will help with the upkeep of the museum and protect its collection.
“This grant will allow for the museum to replace an aging HVAC unit on our rooftop,” Emma stated in a text message.
Though Campton Township had originally requested $63,300 for the schoolhouse project, Supervisor John Kupar said the county’s participation at $21,000 will help the schoolhouse will make it a reality.
“We appreciate these funds that will help us move this 1852 schoolhouse to our Grey Willows Farm and it’s something all residents of Kane County will enjoy,” Kupar said. “It will be moved from a property that is for sale. The owner has given it to us, provided we move it.”
The Whitney Schoolhouse is the second-oldest one-room schoolhouse in Illinois, and the oldest one-room schoolhouse in Kane County, Kupar said.
The committee’s funding recommendations will go to the Kane County Executive Committee and then to the full Kane County Board for final action, officials said.
Other nonprofits and local government to receive Riverboat funds are:
n Court Appointed Special Advocates: $93,822 to train and supervise new CASA and guardian ad litem volunteers
n University of Illinois Cooperative Extension: $88,900 for community education programs programs such as Wellness, 4-H, Horticulture and Environment
n Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity: $61,657 for collaboration with students at East Aurora School District 101 to engage building trades
n Northern Illinois Food Bank: $60,844 for the purchase of a van and other transportation upgrades
n Forest Preserve of Kane County: $45,703 for reconstruction of a Fox River Trail connection in South Elgin
n Wayside Cross Ministries: $34,891 for capital projects to replace two box trucks, renovation of two apartments, roof replacement
n Fox Valley Food for Health: $32,262 for salaries for two part-time positions and general operating expenses
n Association for Individual Development: $31,232 for an autism educator
n Hesed House: $29,311 for the purchase and installation of new HVAC
n Montgomery Smiles for Veterans: $26,740 for free dental service for veterans
n Renz Addiction Center: $26,174 for replacement of furnaces, air conditioning and cooling coils
n PADS of Elgin: $21,328 to replace a floor
n YWCA Elgin: $14,493 for a family literacy program
n Literacy Volunteers Fox Valley: $13,439 for one-to-one English tutoring for adults
n Corbella Clinic: $11,875 to buy an ultrasound machine
n Big Rock Historical Society: $11,299 to blacktop a parking lot
n School District 300 food pantry: $9,283 to buy a truck and equipment and for storage construction
n The Literacy Connection: $8,300 for citizen and English as a second language literacy operating expenses
n Friends of Aurora’s After School Programs: $8,172 for coordinators, Spanish-speaking translator, student workers and scholarships
n United Way of Elgin: $7,500 for license and maintenance fees for a web-based information and referral system
n Village of Lily Lake: $6,657 for the purchase and installation of an emergency early warning siren
n Senior Services Associates: $6,100 for community security upgrades
n Community Crisis Center: $6,040 for technology upgrade for more secure access to its client database
n Tri-City Health Partnership: $4,691 to purchase medical equipment
n Ecker Center for Mental Health: $4,522 for staff training and materials
n The Joshua Tree Community: $2,143 to upgrade technology
n St. Charles Park District: $1,429 for renovation of a teen study center
n Dundee Township Historical Society: $1,757 to replace a carpet