Port Authority selects MEAAA as casino grant recipient

Six Lemay organizations will receive a share of more than $1.7 million when the county Port Authority awards a third round of community reinvestment grants next week.

Among the winners is the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging, the Port Authority confirmed Friday.

The MEAAA, which provides Meals on Wheels and other services to St. Louis area senior citizens, applied unsuccessfully for grants the two previous rounds.

The organization was seeking funds to relocate its South County Senior Center. It has rented space at Occasions Party Place in Lemay.

But the Port Authority, an affiliate of the county Economic Council, twice denied the group’s grant application because it hadn’t secured a location.

This time, the MEAAA has a contract for a property in Lemay, Executive Director Mary Schaefer told the Call.

“It will provide us with additional space beyond what we’ve had and will allow us to expand our program and add new programs in the south county and Lemay area,” Schaefer said of the new center site, adding that she preferred not to give a specific address yet.

Beth Letscher, the Economic Council’s south county sector specialist, said of the MEAAA’s grant, “We are excited that we were able to help them with their needs as an organization because they do a tremendous job helping seniors in the Lemay and south county community. We’re really excited about this award.”

Letscher declined to give specific award amounts or name other recipients. The Port Authority will formally announce the winners during a celebration from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22, at the Jefferson Barracks Visitors Center, 533 Grant Road.

Seventy-five percent of the annual lease payment from River City Casino will be reinvested by the Port Authority into Lemay 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 gave $1.7 million in first-round grants to seven Lemay organizations last September and roughly $750,000 to nine groups in April.

Monday’s event also will include an open house where previous grantees will share updates on their respective projects, Letscher said.

The application period for the fourth round of grants will open Oct. 1 and close on Dec. 1, she said.