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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gaming chair: Bond issue a must for local development

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Approval of a $3.5 million bond issue for a new aquatic center will in turn help Storm Lake grab its share of $8 million in state gaming proceeds.

Diane Hamilton of Storm Lake, chair of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, said $8 million in Vision Iowa money will be allocated to the City of Storm Lake only if voters approve the $3.5 million bond issue for a new aquatic center Feb. 8.

The local contribution toward the aquatic center was part of the package Project Awaysis backers proposed to the Vision Iowa board that awarded the $8 million grant Dec. 8. Hamilton said the Vision Iowa money was a benefit from state gaming proceeds to Buena Vista County.

"This is a benefit we're getting," Hamilton said. "It's projects like this that are becoming sort of a hit around the state," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said Project Awaysis has garnered admiration around the state for its use of nature trails, golfing, and beach improvements.

"These are sorts of things that people want to do," Hamilton said. "They can do it without going out of state."

Hamilton said the benefits of Project Awaysis are going to be enormous.

"It's going to be tremendous," Hamilton said. "There is just no much you can do and it won't cost you any money."

Hamilton said it only stands to reason that Storm Lake should benefit from the $8 million in Vision Iowa money.

"The Vision Iowa money is another way to get gambling revenue," Hamilton said.

In addition, Buena Vista County stands to get $60,000 from a half-cent tax on gaming revenues that is allocated to counties without casinos.

"We are starting to be recipients of gaming proceeds," Hamilton said.

On the flip side, if the Feb. 8 bond issue does not pass, Storm Lake will not get the $8 million in Vision Iowa money and there will be no Project Awaysis.

Citing a cost of $6.32 a month on a $100,000 home, Hamilton said, "It's a bargain in what we get. This is something positive toward economic development. I just can't imagine people being against this project."