County weighs foundation request

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December 17, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Allen County commissioners will decide in the next week or two whether to contribute about $30,000 to the Allen County Community Foundation.
A delegation led by Susan Michael, foundation director, told commissioners Tuesday about that much was needed to qualify for a $50,000 grant from the Kansas Health Care Foundation, Wichita.
County Counselor Alan Weber, a foundation board member, said the local foundation had attracted about $70,000 toward a goal of $100,000 needed by year’s end to qualify for a two-for-one match — the $50,000 — from the Kansas Health Care Foundation. Also, coming the foundation’s way would be a $17,500 grant to help pay administrative costs and $2,500 to train activists.
“Actually we have more than $70,000” having come the foundation’s way this year, Weber continued, but some is for things other than health care and doesn’t meet the health care foundation’s criteria.
The previous two years the county-wide foundation has had no problem raising $100,000 or more in contributions designated for health care. That’s because the foundation was the clearing house for donations made toward Allen County Regional Hospital.
If the foundation fails to raise the $30,000 by year’s end, it would  be difficult to maintain full-time staffing.
Gary McIntosh, another foundation board member, said adequate staffing is important to the foundation’s efforts to attract funding and do all that was necessary to keep it functioning at a high level.
The community foundation is a one-stop conduit for funding of a multitude of causes in the county, with the hospital’s startup as a primary one. It also helps with smaller projects, such as the Mothers of Miracles successful campaign to erect playground equipment in Riverside Park suitable for use by physically challenged children.
Money given to the foundation — all tax-deductible — may come with earmarks for its use.
On Dec. 1, 2012, Allen County put $50,000 in the community foundation to provide funding for environmental projects. Income from that base donation is available, but none has been granted to date.
McIntosh also noted the foundation had an agreement in a pilot program with Kansas State University to help fund education for local students and that exploration was being done to involve Woodson and Anderson counties — perhaps others — with the local foundation.

 THE OLD hospital remains an orphan, Weber said.
“We have a couple of people bantering” about ideas of how it might be repurposed, he said, but “I’m not optimistic.”
The county purchased liability and casualty insurance on the structure this year for a premium of about $16,000 and is looking at a premium in 2015 of about $13,000. Weber said he would inquire about liability insurance alone in the coming year.
The hospital has been vacant for one year.
While no forecasts indicate foul winter weather soon, Bill King, director of Public Works, said the county had about 150 tons of salt on hand and more than ample supplies of small-diameter rock to mix with it to spread on icy and snow-packed roads.
“If we don’t use the salt” — very much his preference — King said, “it will store well for next winter.”
Reasonably mild weather has permitted work on the new bridge over Owl Creek two miles west of Humboldt to progress well, King added. “They’re pouring concrete this week.”
Scheduled next is a bridge on Wyoming Road — the Allen-Anderson counties line — between 400 and 600 streets, but it may be shelved because of concerns about how its length may affect Kansas Department of Transportation funding, King said.
If the county pulls away from that bridge, reconstruction of one on 600 Street near its intersection with California Road southwest of Humboldt may be pursued.

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