Riverboat funds going to Kane County agencies hit lowest point

Updated 9/3/2015 8:40 AM

The St. Charles Rowing Club has a vision for the Fox River Bluff East Forest Preserve that includes turning 700 feet of shoreline into a place to safely launch canoes, adding a boathouse to store fragile racing shells, improving access to the shoreline and installing restrooms.

The project would give more people access to recreation on the river and spruce up an underused public property, the group believes.


The cost? An estimated $160,000.

The club hoped to get $100,000 of that in 2016 in a grant from the Kane County Grand Victoria Riverboat Fund.

But while the riverboat committee liked the club's idea, the club will likely receive only $19,167 under a recommendation approved by the county board's executive committee Wednesday.

They are in the same boat with 35 other agencies slated to get only part of what they sought. It's a typical practice for the riverboat committee, which reviewed 1,322 pages of applications.

Only seven projects are recommended to get all of what they asked. And 10 projects won't get anything at all.

Christine Landrum, president of the rowing club, said she was surprised to learn the club will get only $19,167 toward its plan.

"We'll accept the grant," she said. "We will do the best we can with the opportunity that there is in front of us."

The club formed about two years ago, and this is the first time it applied for a riverboat grant.

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The riverboat fund committee recommended giving $847,703 to external agencies throughout the county in 2016 -- the lowest amount it has authorized since its inception 18 years ago. Fifty-three entities submitted $1.97 million in requests.

The full county board will vote on the disbursements Tuesday.

The largest award could be $84,407 for educational programs run by the University of Illinois Extension office in St. Charles. The smallest is $1,013 to the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce for a youth job program.

Agencies that will likely get all that they asked for are:

• Association for Individual Development, $20,000 for a 12-passenger van.

• Court Appointed Special Advocates, $50,000 to train and supervise new volunteer advocates and guardians ad litem.

• FISH Food Pantry, $7,082 to buy an HVAC unit, computers, a server, carts and tables.

• Fox River Study Group, $50,000 for its work on its Fox River Implementation Plan.


• NHS of the Fox Valley, $15,000 to pay salaries of housing recovery program support staff workers.

• United Way of Elgin, $7,638 for the license and maintenance fees for a Web-based information and referral system.

• YWCA Elgin, $15,000 for its Family Literacy Program.

Recipients have two years to spend allotments related to construction projects and one year for others.

The grants usually do not cover the entire cost of what the recipients propose to do. For example, the Fox River Study Group estimates its plan will cost $350,000. It had received $280,000 from 2009 to 2014. The YWCA literacy program says its program will cost $117,000.

The grant fund was established in 1997. The county receives 7.5 percent of the net income from the casino. The external grants are supposed to be used for educational, environmental and economic development activities.

The committee has also recommended $3.9 million in spending for Kane County government departments, or internal grants.

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