Alta Schools land $317,000 grant windfall

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Buena Vista County Historical Society is ready to move its log house and one-room school to make way for Project AWAYSIS. Just one problem - where to?

Plans to relocate the historic buildings with a new senior center to the site of the old water plant in Sunrise Park were turned down by the city council recently.

"The city is getting anxious for us to get moved, but we don't have a place to move to," said Susan Thompson of the historical society board. The group met this week, but could reach no solution. They have scheduled another meeting for next Wednesday.

She said her group is not opposing AWAYSIS, and that city officials have been eager to work with the historical society.

"We were all ready to go for the Sunset Park spot. Of course, we would prefer not to move at all, but that is not an option, either. All we can do is keep looking for ideas on where to place our buildings."

The historical board doesn't want to use Radio Park because of the many guide wires that they fear could cause problems for young children attending Country School Days each year at the schoolhouse museum. They worry about vandalism and accessibility with Frank Starr Park, distant from the heart of the community.

The distance of moving the old buildings is an issue, and the historical society also wants a site to relocate the Bessie's garden display.

The Alta Community Schools this week received a $317,557 grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Grants to Improve the Mental Health of Children program.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is the ranking Democrat on the Senate panel that funds such education initiatives. "It is crucial that we employ the best possible resources to support our students' mental and physical health," Harkin said.

The grant is intended to help the Alta district develop innovative links between the school system and local mental health systems.

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