Riverboat Development Authority awards grants

2012-11-14T20:30:00Z Riverboat Development Authority awards grantsKurt Allemeier The Quad-City Times
November 14, 2012 8:30 pm  • 

Telephones, air conditioners and tactical masks made up part of the Riverboat Development Authority grants announced Wednesday, but so did children’s programs and cultural events.

River Music Experience received the largest of the 46 grants, getting $75,000. The RDA, through revenue from the Rhythm City casino in Davenport, distributed $922,600 in grants this cycle.

Mayor Bill Gluba spoke passionately about how the city’s proposed acquisition of the Rhythm City casino will boost the RDA’s ability to distribute more to nonprofits in the future.

“We hope to make the transition as smooth as possible, with as little disruption as possible,” Gluba said. “We want to maximize the value of the license.

“We want to see those dollars stay in the community rather than go to stockholders,” Gluba said.

The city has proposed increasing the revenue going to the RDA from 4 to

4.5 percent when it is land-based, then going to 5 percent once half of the bonds used for the casino purchase are paid off.

The RDA board hasn’t voted on an agreement with the city, president Mary Ellen Chamberlin noted after the meeting, saying Gluba might be talking ahead of the process.

The city of Davenport received $20,000 for tactical masks for the police department, while the Children’s Therapy Center of the Quad-Cities received $8,000 for a telephone system.

The Putnam Museum received $37,500 for its Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM,  learning center, and the Quad-City Botanical Center received $25,000 for its children’s garden.

The Downtown Davenport Partnership got $45,000 for summer festival sponsorship and Ballet Quad-Cities received $10,000 for its “Cinderella” production, the same amount as the Quad-City Jazz Festival.

The downtown money will be used for the River Roots Live and Red, White and Boom festivals, said Kyle Carter, director of the downtown partnership. He called River Roots Live “a regional monster” for drawing visitors from outside the Quad-Cities.

The RDA grant will go along way to helping create the STEM learning center, Putnam CEO Kim Findlay said. The museum also received the same amount from the Scott County Regional Authority, which is part of $350,000 in grants received for the project.

The project will take 7,500 square feet of under-utilized space and create permanent hands-on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, exhibits with the hopes it will draw children into science- and engineering-related careers.

“We want kids to find out how stimulating and fun it is so when they get to high school and can take electives, they will continue taking these classes because it is fun,” Findlay said. “Telling kids they can make a lot of money isn’t doing it.”

The goal of the children’s garden at the botanical center has the same goal for children of “learning without knowing they are learning,” gardener Dave Searl said. The RDA grant will be used for the first phase, which will include a Mississippi River replica, entry plaza and orientation plaza.

“The river will be the main feature of the garden,” Searl said. Children will be able to walk through the delta and manipulate locks on the river.

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