Port Authority OKs $750,000 in casino grants

Applications being accepted for next round of grant funds.


While nine Lemay organizations were awarded $750,000 in community reinvestment grants from the county Port Author-ity last week, the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging for the second time was not one of the recipients.

The Port Authority, an affiliate of the county Economic Council, announced Friday the winners of the second round of grants from the Community Reinvestment Fund designed to spur economic development and job creation in Lemay.

Seventy-five percent of the annual lease payment from River City Casino will be reinvested by the Port Authority into Le-may for the first five years of the casino’s operation.

Grants are awarded to organizations based on the merits of the project for which they’re seeking funds.

The Port Authority last September gave $1.7 million in first-round grants to seven Lemay organizations, including three groups that were awarded funds last week.

However, it denied an application from the MEAAA seeking $270,000 for a new South County Senior Center because the agency hadn’t selected a location. Offici-als at the time encouraged the MEAAA, which now rents space at Occasions Party Place in Lemay, to reapply.

John Gamache, MEAAA public relations and resource development specialist, said the group’s second-round grant application was turned down for the same reason.

“They are still waiting for us to find a location for the new center. We have not been able to do that,” Gamache told the Call. “We don’t have a commitment for a new site. We have places that we’re looking at.”

The MEAAA also hoped to obtain funds to maintain the existing senior center, but “they chose not to fund that,” he added.

“We are continuing to talk with them. We certainly plan on applying the next round, and we hope to have a site identified by then,” Gamache said.

Denny Coleman, county Economic Coun-cil president and CEO, was unavailable for comment before press time Monday.

The MEAAA has enlisted the help of County Council Chairman Steve Stenger, D-south county, whose district includes Le-may. Stenger told the Call he recently ac-cepted a seat on a committee that will search for the location of the agency’s new senior center.

“They do great work. It’s moving,” Stenger said of the MEAAA, which provides Meals on Wheels and other services to St. Louis area senior citizens. “They are literally feeding the seniors in Lemay, which is great.”

Groups that did receive part of the $750,000 in Port Authority grants last week are as follows:

• VFW Post 4223, $152,050 for capital improvements to existing facilities.

• AT&T Telephone Pioneers, $150,000 for capital improvements to an existing fa-cility.

• Lemay Child and Family Center, $138,000 to fund a development director position. The organization received a $195,000 Port Authority grant in Septem-ber for facility upgrades.

• Jefferson Barracks Heritage Founda-tion, $100,000 to provide staff and operations assistance. The organization received a $40,000 Port Authority grant in Septem-ber for planning and designing the new Ulysses Grant museum at Jefferson Bar-racks.

• Hancock Place School District/Lemay Child and Family Center, $90,000 seed money to establish a Lemay Community Education Program.

• Lemay Development Corp., $87,918 for support costs related to a new staff position. The organization received a $275,000 Port Authority grant in September for redevelopment efforts.

• U.S. Second Rangers Battalion, $25,690 to complete the restoration of Jefferson Bar-racks Power House.

• Lemay Memorial American Legion Post 162, $12,278 for capital improvements to existing facilities.

• Freedom’s Gateway, $3,000 as matching funds to support Camp Jackson, an event that will take place from April 29 to May 1 at Jefferson Barracks as part of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Applications currently are being accepted by the Port Authority selection committee for the next round of funding.

The deadline is June 1 and awards will be announced in mid-August.