Santa's Castle, the City Beautification efforts and Community Education will be the recipients of the funds given to the Storm Lake Chamber of Commerce by the RAGBRAI committee.
"The board wanted to use the funds where they would make the most positive influence on the greatest number of people, while having some long-lasting effect. It was a long process and not an easy task," chamber CEO Chris Nolte said.
The total received after the city hosted the bicycle marathon was $13,000, with $6,000 to be distributed to Santa's Castle holiday display currently being refurbished, $3,000 to the City Beautiful beautification project, and $1,000 to the Community Education program. It was voted to use $3,000 to purchase the lighthouse-design welcome banners which had been made for the RAGBRAI visit.
Nolte said the beautification project was one that generated considerable discussion since it is not an "official entity." Thw board decided to invite the group to form under the auspices of the chamber and set aside the funds to be disbursed upon the submission of an approved master plan for the rehabilitation effort.
"The board feels as this is a great project, but without a firm plan, one that could falter," Nolte said. "The committee will be invited to become a sub-group of the chamber, similar to the lighthouse effort which solicited funds, benefited from chamber's not-for-profit status and staff support."
"It was a very lengthy discussion that took up most of the board meeting as there were many fine suggestions and our decision was not an easy one to reach," said Tim Rebnord, chamber president. "We could have easily disbursed ten times the amount we had received from the RAGBRAI effort, however, following considerable discussion I am pleased with the decision made by the board.
"Once again, we would like to extend thanks to the co-chairs, committee chairs, volunteers and citizens of Storm Lake for the outstanding effort put forth to showcase our community. We may never fully realize the significance of this effort."