WIUM Tristates Public Radio

State Funding Up In The Air for Fort Madison

May 5, 2012

It’s unclear whether Lee County’s support for a proposed sports complex in Fort Madison will lead to any state funding.  The project calls for the construction of three football/soccer fields and three softball/baseball diamonds.

The Vision Iowa Board says the county must provide at least $25,000 if the board is to act on Fort Madison’s request for more than $870,000.

The county has created a special community development fund to try to raise the money.  $1,500 has already been pledged at this point.

The fundraising effort would allow the county to avoid providing taxpayer dollars.

Vision Iowa Program Manager Jessica O’Riley believes this is the first time a project has tried to cover a government contribution through fundraising.

She says it will be up to the Vision Iowa Board to determine if Lee County’s fundraising plan is valid.  The board is scheduled to meet in Des Moines on May 16.

O’Riley says there is about $2-million remaining in the fund for smaller projects.  She says the Community, Attraction and Tourism committee has more than $11.7-million in funding requests before it.



The Vision Iowa Board was created in 2001.

O’Riley says projects are divided into two areas.  The Vision Iowa fund is for projects costing $20-million or more while the CAT fund is for smaller projects.

There is also a separate funded dedicated to river-related projects.

“The beauty of the program,” says O’Riley, “is that it is all community driven.”

O’Riley says the CAT fund, alone, has provided $953-million to 356 projects.  They include aquatics centers, libraries, museums, and trails.

“Projects must have broad support,” says O’Riley, “the board has determined that as city, county and community fundraising.”  She says it is like a three-legged stool.