CLINTON — The Clinton County Community Development Association Board of Directors voted Wednesday to create a scholarship program for high area schools.

Board President Alan Campbell said an annual fund of $14,000 would be created and the seven Clinton County high schools, Calamus-Wheatland, Camanche, Clinton, Central DeWitt, Lincoln, Northeast and Prince of Peace, will be awarded two $1,000 scholarships each year to be given to deserving students.

Criteria for selection of the scholarship winners will be decided by the individual schools’ scholarship committees. The scholarship will be paid to the college of the winner’s choosing.

Campbell said the board considered creating the scholarship program after learning other Iowa gaming association boards are operating similar programs.

The board approved creating the scholarship fund pending a review of the program outlined by board attorney Jim Bruhn.

The board discussed possible changes to its grant funding program. Currently, the association operates two pools of funding, A and B.

Fund A grants are awarded with the goal of accomplishing economic, civic or community development projects in an effort to improve the local economy and create and retain employment opportunities. Fund B grants of up to $75,000 are awarded to qualified organizations for various projects. Since the Mississippi Belle II began operation in 1991, the board has awarded nearly $8 million to various non-profit entities and projects through the grant program.

Alice Schnepel, member of the board and its Funding Period Review Committee, addressed the board Wednesday and explained that previous discussions had resulted in the suggestion of having one funding pool and two allocations each year in the spring and fall. Board members questioned details related to the merger of the two funding pools such as if qualifications would be different and how much funding would be necessary for an organization to have in matching funds.

Board member Brig Tubbs suggested the board consider a graduated scale based on the size of projects.

Some other suggested changes included making $100,000 the maximum amount awarded in a grant or the possibility of creating a third funding pool that could provide grants for projects in between application periods.

Schnepel said the fund could be started with a seed amount of $500,000 and be kept up through the infusion of 20 percent of the net revenue per year. The board sent the suggestions back to the review committee to be discussed further hoping for more definite details. If the board approves the funding pool merger, the change could take place as early as next year.

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