DES MOINES — A state panel agreed Wednesday to put $750,000 toward the $23 million Cedar Valley SportsPlex, which is about half of what project boosters hoped to receive.

“We asked for 6 percent (of the total project cost). It would have been better if it was 6 percent, but 3 percent is better than nothing,” Rick Young, president of Young Development Co., said. He joined the meeting of the Vision Iowa Board by phone to hear the board’s vote.

“We appreciate it,” he said.

A few at the board table in Des Moines rolled their eyes at Young’s remarks, then board member Cathy Reece chimed in.

“We give you a lot of credit for your hard work,” Reece said. “We know this project means a lot to the community, and we look forward to being able to visit when it opens.”

Young has spearheaded the effort to secure state tourism money for the project for months in what was a sometimes frustrating mission for both him and the board. On several occasions, board members told Young that they liked the project, but he wanted more money than they were willing to give. Young countered that he was asking for less than 10 percent of the total project cost to come from the state.

Ultimately, a deal was struck in which the state will put up $750,000 toward the project contingent upon Young’s group being able to come up with matching funds by Jan. 31, 2013.

The SportsPlex is a 130,000-square-foot downtown indoor recreation and fitness center under construction at Jefferson and West 2nd streets in Waterloo. Backers of the project believe it will become a regional attraction with the ability to pull in people from the city and around the Cedar Valley.

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