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Elgin council to eye casino cash for nonprofits

Updated: April 20, 2013 6:24AM

ELGIN — The city council Wednesday evening will discuss two options for doling out Grand Victoria Casino tax money set aside to assist the city’s nonprofits.

According to supporting material for the committee of the whole meeting, 35 groups applied for grants this year, compared to 21 in 2012. The combined amounts sought totaled more than $802,000, including almost $118,000 for the Ride in Kane program.

That compares to total requests of about $339,000 in 2012.

The grant applications were divided for review among council members, with 10 agencies selected to receive money, and a recommendation made to fund the Ride in Kane program separately from the riverboat grant program.

Ride in Kane it provides transportation to qualifying seniors, persons with disabilities and low-income county residents, for a nominal fee. It is a public-private partnership among various government bodies and four community service agencies, the Pace suburban bus agency, and the county’s division of transportation.

About 56 percent of the Ride In Kane trips are work-related.

Other agencies set to receive shares of the riverboat money are the Oak Crest senior residence, local Golden Diners program, Ecker Center for Mental Health, Food For Greater Elgin food bank, Boys & Girls Club of Elgin, Neighborhood Housing Services, the YWCA, Literacy Connection, United Way of Elgin, and Centro de Informacion.

The council is considering two options for handing out money to the various agencies, and both would keep funding for Ride-in-Kane at close to $118,000.

One plan would total close to $368,000. It would use the $250,000 already set aside from casino money, with the difference coming from contingency funds set aside from the casino.

The other plan would hold to the $250,000 total amount for distribution, with the awards to the other groups dramatically less than under the first option.

The $250,000 grant program was started in 2012 and replaced individual line-item funding that had been given to certain agencies in prior years.

The council decided last year that in order to help those organizations that had been receiving and relying on annual funding from the city, NHS of the Fox Valley would receive $35,000, the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin would get $115,000, and Ride in Kane would receive $58,700. Eleven other groups each got $3,815.

According to Ride in Kane officials, at least 1,500 Elgin residents use the program.

Ride in Kane was launched in 2008 and currently is funded with $2.4 million in federal grant funds awarded through the Regional Transportation Authority and $1.7 million in matching funds from local partners. Those include Aurora Township, Batavia, Batavia Township, Dundee Township Park District, Dundee Township, East Dundee, West Dundee, Sleepy Hollow, Elgin, Geneva, Geneva Township, Kaneville Township, St. Charles, St. Charles Township, South Elgin, Association for individual Development, Hesed House, and Senior Services Associates.

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