WATERLOO — The city of Cedar Falls was awarded $750,000 Monday by the Black Hawk County Gaming Association that will go toward a new public safety building.

It was one of six grants worth a total of $1.21 million approved by the association’s board. Other awards benefited a planned playground and the public library in Cedar Falls as well as Goodwill Industries of Northeast Iowa, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa and the Black Hawk County YMCA in Waterloo.

Cedar Falls’ proposed $11 million public safety building would be located at South Main Street and Bluebell Road, at the existing site of the city’s south fire station. The funds were unanimously approved by the board with no discussion.

CEDAR FALLS — The city is applying for what would be, in Cedar Falls, a record dollar amount…

The building would replace the current police department in the basement of City Hall and the main fire station at East 18th and Main streets.

Officials say the police facility is cramped and lacks adequate space for writing incident reports, taking statements and myriad other needs. Current design puts prisoner temporary holding cells too close to victim and witness areas.

Officials say the main fire station also is inadequate for the city’s needs. It is in a flood zone, has limited parking, improper vehicle exhaust ventilation and bay doors that are too narrow for modern trucks.

Another $250,000 was unanimously awarded to the city of Cedar Falls’ “Place to Play” park, planned for the current site of Greenhill Park at Algonquin and Ashworth drives. The inclusive park will cater to children with physical and intellectual disabilities and be open to everyone.

Other awards were $125,000 to Goodwill for an employment and fulfillment center, $50,000 to the Cedar Falls Public Library for a “co-lab” or maker space, $20,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters for the “Bigs with Badges One-to-One Mentoring” program that will pair children with law enforcement officers and $15,000 to the YMCA for pool liners and a pool deck.

All the votes were unanimous except for the library request, in which board member Paul Lee dissented.

Other business before the board included:

A $63,300 planning and design development grant approved to the Waterloo Development Corp. for a streetscape project on Jefferson and Commercial streets between River Road and Third Street. The corporation is regularly allotted funds for downtown improvements under the association’s grant distribution rules.

Extensions until next summer to finish spending down grants to Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center, or EMBARC, and the Parkersburg Diamonds and Fields. EMBARC received $12,000 of funding in November 2016 for the Refugee Empowerment Access to Health program. Parkersburg received $35,000 in February 2015 to build athletic playing fields.

A $2,500 request from the Cedar Falls High School rocket club denied for lack of a motion. Funds are related to a project one of its teams is doing with NASA. Beth Knipp, executive director of the association, said the application was received shortly before the meeting agenda came out. “Some of it is for travel,” she noted, which the board generally does not support with its funds.

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