Harvey County approves SPARK grants

Chad Frey

On Wednesday morning, the Harvey County Commission reviewed three sets of grant applications for SPARK funds — funds funneled from the state to the county to help organizations respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The county designated about $2.5 million for Phase I funding — funding for private organizations and businesses affected by COVID-19 and mitigation efforts.

The county received more than $7.5 million in funds earlier this year, with the majority of those funds granted to municipalities and governmental organizations.

The county approved five different funding programs: public health, community support, community testing, private school and college support, long-term care support and senior center sustainability.

One week ago the county commission approved more than $252,000 in grants — of $300,000 available — under a long-term care support program. Organizations receiving funding included Presbyterian Manor ($46,100), Ember Hope ($16,680), Schowalter Villa ($75,000), Kidron Bethel Village ($48,453) and Halstead Health and Rehab ($39,551).

On Wednesday, the commission reviewed the final three grant programs, awarding $177,418 of a possible $350,000 to private schools and college support; $73,338 of a possible $90,000 for senior center sustainment; and $85,660 of a possible $100,000 for community support programs.

In the private schools and college support program, four schools applied for funds — seeking funding for things like cleaning supplies, hygiene supplies, personal protective equipment, technology improvements and air purifiers.

Newton Bible Christian School was awarded $1,481.50 for a water bottle filling station. St. Mary Catholic School in Newton was awarded $20,120 for Chromebooks, water bottle filling stations, air purifiers, technology upgrades, online learning and nursing supplies. Hesston College was awarded $8,874 for cleaning supplies, hygiene supplies, PPE, capital improvements and technology. Bethel College of North Newton was awarded $68,159 for cleaning supplies, sprayers, paper towels, PPE and technology improvements.

In the Senior Center Sustainment program, funds were awarded for utilities, revenue replacement, PPE, cleaning supplies, hygiene supplies and appliances. Four different organizations applied for funds. Hesston Area Seniors was awarded $19,211, Grand Central $30,000, Halstead Sixty Plus $10,058 and Sedgwick Senior Center $14,068.

Under the community support grant program the county awarded funds for food, cleaning products, paper products, baby items, utilities and rent.

For the Community Support Grant Program, the county approved five grant awards — $7,082 to New Jerusalem Missions, $20,222 to Newton Ministerial Alliance, $5,541 to Peace Connections, $50,000 to Newton Meals on Wheels and $2,814 to St Vincent De Paul.

The county is also in the middle of approval of CARES act grants for public health efforts — reviewing 56 applications requesting $426,925. On Wednesday, the commission approved 48 grant awards in the amount of $366,204.07 for planned expenditures by November. Remaining grant awards for that program will be reviewed by the commission Nov. 10.

In other business, the county:

• Reviewed a sales tax report showing collections for August were higher than Aug. 2019.

• Reviewed a quarterly report from the Harvey County Economic Development Council.

• Discussed advertising for bids to paint two hangars at Newton City/County Airport.

• Set a date of Nov. 12 for vote canvassing of the general election.

• Designated public holidays for 2021.