Cloud County Commission Approves Wind Farm Grant Projects Totaling $350,000

EDP Renewables
EDP Renewables

The Cloud County Commission met on Monday, April 17th and awarded 22 projects funding support through the Meridian Way Wind Farm dollars provided each year by EDP Renewables.

This year, Cloud County received 28 applications totaling more than $726,000 from North Central Kansas organizations interested in receiving support through the Meridian Way Wind Farm dollars provided each year by EDP Renewables.  The funds are to be used to support innovative projects that enhance quality of life, prosperity, and safety of the citizens of Cloud County by creating additional educational, recreational, social, health, community development, and economic opportunities for them and for existing and new businesses in Cloud County.

Get in the Cloud Small Business Grant Program - $150,000
The Get in the Cloud grant program is an aggressive approach to recruiting small business in Cloud County.  The Get in the Cloud grant funds are intended to encourage economic development in Cloud County, while increasing the property value of existing structures or land.  In 2022, CloudCorp had four communities awarded Get in the Cloud grants -- Concordia, Glasco, Clyde and Miltonvale.

The Get in the Cloud grant fund provides competitive grants and mentoring support for new and existing businesses.  Entrepreneurs who successfully complete the educational component and who own an existing business located in Cloud County or are developing a business concept they intend to locate in Cloud County will be eligible to apply for a one time grant of 50% of start-up costs or $50,000, whichever is less, to fund eligible expenses.  Existing businesses are eligible if they can show increased sales/customer base from an addition to their current facility.

Administration of the program is provided by CloudCorp.  The decision to award the funds rests solely with the CloudCorp Get in the Cloud grant committee, with final approval of the awardee slate by the Cloud County Commission.  While reviewing applications, the committee also takes into consideration how the new business or expansion will impact sales tax generation and whether it will create new jobs.

If awarded funds, CloudCorp will monitor the business to assure that the awarded funds are used as stated in the grant application.  CloudCorp extends further support by providing participants with a network of experienced, successful business mentors they may rely on after the courses end and as they continue building their business.

Grant funds will not be paid directly to the recipient.  In order to ensure funds are used for intended purposes, funds will be distributed directly to the vendors used for the project.

The Get in the Cloud grant has been funded since 2014.  In that time, $1,284,089.99 has been awarded to 53 projects, with total project input costs of over $6.7 million, improving the quality of life for residents in Cloud County.  To date, awardees have spent $1,246,458.41 of grant funds.  $959,593.66 has been spent with vendors and laborers in Cloud County.

Application for the Get in the Cloud grant program is open multiple times a year upon availability of funds.  Specific dates are announced.  Applications are not accepted outside of the published cycles.

Concordia Senior Center - $25,000
The Concordia Senior Center received funding to replace worn out, disintegrating vinyl flooring in the kitchen, food prep area, dishwashing area, office floor and pantry floor, as well as replace old wooden cabinets and shelving with stainless steel shelves, and replace a wooden prep table with a stainless steel table.  This upgrade will provide a cleaner and safer work area in the preparation of food going to the seniors of Cloud County, both in-house and by those that receive meals on wheels.

Glasco "Idle a While" RV Park - $20,000
The City of Glasco received funding for the revitalization of the Glasco "Idle a While" R.V. Park.  In visiting with other communities, Mayor Clark Coco says they've discovered there is a significant need for R.V. camp sites.  With the revitalization of the Glasco R.V. Park, they will have eight campsites available for persons working in North Central Kansas and for visitors to the area.  Upgrades proposed include electrical upgrades, new concrete pads, water hydrants, lighting, gravel for roadways, and the purchase and installation of a storm shelter.

National Orphan Train Complex - $20,000
The National Orphan Train Complex in Concordia received funding for exterior paint for the Historic Orphan Train Depot and the Morgan-Dowell Welcome Center.  The Union Pacific Depot, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was renovated inside and out from 2005 to 2007.  Wonda Phillips, National Orphan Train Complex Treasurer, says the exterior paint has held up amazingly well but is now showing fading and some flaking.  In order to maintain the visual appeal of the top attraction in Cloud County, exterior painting has become a priority for 2023.  The Morgan-Dowell Welcome Center opened officially in 2007 and the paint on that building is also in need of attention.

Jamestown Fueling Station - $14,000
The Jamestown Fueling Station received funding for updates.  The fueling station pumps and card readers do not reflect current card reading and pump needs.  The fueling station pumps are poorly lit and are in need of LED updates to provide a brighter area for users during evening and nighttime hours.  The fueling station, located on K-9, also does not currently offer compressed air for travelers to refill their tires.

Aurora Fueling Station - $10,000
The City of Aurora received funding to upgrade their fueling station, including an awning and additional lighting for easier and safer fueling during the inclement and night time hours.

City of Jamestown - $10,000
The City of Jamestown received funding to assist in the cost of replacing the rooftop HVAC units on several community rooms and buildings.  The Jamestown Library, after school room, community room, senior center, and food pantry are all in need of new HVAC units.  Total cost of the project is estimated at $64,000.

Sunset Home Senior Living Community - $10,000
Sunset Home Senior Living Community in Concordia received funding to assist in the cost of renovating a used cottage, with plans to open an accessible, affordable childcare center.  The center will operate from 6 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday, with spots for 8 to 12 children of employees and other families in the Concordia community.  The childcare center will be distinctive because it will offer regularly structured as well as informal intergenerational activities at least three to four times per week.

Sunset Home has raised over $130,000 to date and plans to complete renovations this spring.  Wind farm grant funds will help them finish one of the few requirements they have left in order to complete and open the childcare center.  The funds will go towards the installation of fencing for the outdoor play area and to make safety improvements to the front entrance, including a new storm door.

Clyde Ambulance Service - $10,000
The Clyde Ambulance Service received funding to purchase a power cut with power load system to be installed in their ambulance unit.  Currently, they have a regular Stryker cot that does not raise or lower on its own and has to be lifted into the unit.  They have applied for a grant for the new power cot and power load system, but it requires a 25 percent local match.  As a small service that depends on fees for service to survive, the Clyde Ambulance Service depends on a wide variety of grants to help keep their patients and techs safe with the best possible equipment for care and handling.

Knights of Columbus Council #2114 - $6,000
The Knights of Columbus Council #2114 in Aurora received funding for a kitchen project.  The kitchen in the Aurora Opera House Preservation Project needs a new floor structure, flooring, plumbing, cabinets, countertops, and possibly new appliances.  A new kitchen would enhance the quality of life for this historical building, built in 1906, and bring back the charm it once had, making it more functional and economical.

Brown Grand Opera House - $5,000
The Brown Grand Opera House, Inc. received funding to renovate two restrooms on the second floor of the theatre.  The project will include the furnishing and installation of two toilets, two lavatories, two ceiling lights, two wall mirrors, two paper towel holders, two toilet paper holders, the removal of a ceiling heater, fresh paint, and wall paper.  Currently, the sink fixtures have loose legs, and the mirrors, paper towel and toilet paper holders do not fit the 1907 historic feel of the Brown Grand.  Previously, there had been a ceiling heater installed in the east restroom that has been disconnected and no longer works.  The heater will be removed and the wall will be patched once it is taken out.  In addition, the Brown Grand will furnish and install a six-gallon, electric water heater with new lines to the two sinks.  This will provide hot water when patrons wash their hands.

Park Villa Nursing Home - $5,000
Park Villa Nursing Home in Clyde received funding to support the cost of purchasing and installing a Navi-Call Wireless Nurse Call System.  Park Villa's current system is over 26-years-old and the audible alarm is disruptive to residents.  Heather Germann, Administrator, says an upgraded pager/phone notification system that will be tied to the call light system will give them more of a home-like atmosphere and enhance the quality of life for the residents they serve.  It also will allow them to be alerted quicker and track their call light time.

North Central Kansas CASA and Hope's Place Child Advocacy Center - $4,000
North Central Kansas CASA and Hope's Place Child Advocacy Center received funding to purchase new office furniture.  NCK CASA is currently in the beginning stages of hiring for a new position, Family Advocate/Forensic Interviewer.  They will need to outfit an entire new individual office, plus replace furniture that is damaged and/or broken in the process.  NCK CASA is requesting funds to purchase two desks with hutches, two five-drawer file cabinets, and five office chairs from Feldkamps Furniture in Concordia.

9/11 Tribute - Heroes Weekend - $3,000
The 9/11 Tribute - Heroes Weekend put on at the Cloud County Fairgrounds in Concordia received funding.  The event, scheduled for September 8th through September 10th, is to honor military members, veterans and first responders and recognize those lost on September 11, 2001.  The weekend plans include free concerts by the DJ Bridwell Band and Sunset Sinners, as well as races, a cornhole tournament, and a 9/11 memorial service.

Concordia Lions Club - $2,500
The Concordia Lions Club received funding to purchase a new Commercial Refrigerator for the Concordia National Guard Armory.  The Concordia Lions Club provides a free community meal to Cloud County residents on the first and second Wednesday of each month.  These community suppers are prepared and disbursed at the armory, with over 300 meals served each dinner.  The refrigerator at the armory recently broke down and they need assistance with the cost of a replacement refrigerator in order to continue this service to the community.

Con-Kids Wrestling Club - $2,500
The Con-Kids Wrestling Cub received funding to help provide the practice facility with one new 40' durable and contained mat for the purpose of replacing the existing mat that is in disrepair and needs to be retired.  The current mat has several holes in it that have created a safety hazard.  The new mat will be utilized by all youth, 6-18, participating in learning the skills of wrestling and competing at local, junior and senior high events.

Cloud County Historical Society Museum - $500
The Cloud County Historical Society Museum received funding to purchase one head microphone, one lapel mic, one handheld mic, two speakers, wireless transmitters, speaker wire and shelving to record their programs and interviews, which can then be publicly accessible through their website.

Boy Scout Troop #38 - $400
Local Boy Scout Troop #38 received funding for their flag beautification project.  Approximately eight times each year, the troop puts out American Flags at businesses throughout the community.  The troop has been utilizing the same flags for approximately 17 years and many have been damaged by high winds and bleaching in the hot weather.  The goal of the project is to replace fifty flags prior to July 1, 2023.  The troop functions on close to a zero budget, reconciled yearly, and is hoping to procure grant funding to make this project happen.

The Cloud County Commission also voted Monday to appropriate $22,500 to the Cloud County Recycling Center and $22,500 to Cloud County Emergency Preparedness to aid in minimizing the impact of their operational costs to the county's general fund.

The commission also approved $2,600 for courthouse security upgrades.

And the commission voted to approve funding the Rural Opportunity Zone (ROZ) program at $4,500.  In June 2019, the commissioners approved a resolution funding the ROZ student loan repayment program at $4,500 per year for five years.  The $4,500 can fund three employees per year.