Casino night funds community projects in RC

The Thriving Communities committee: Dan Dahlberg, Mike Griffin, Amy Mell, Ilene Olsen, Bruce Holmberg, Jill Bolejake; Front row Kristin Papke, Sue Griffith and Deb Dahlberg.  Photo by Amy Doeun
The Thriving Communities committee: Dan Dahlberg, Mike Griffin, Amy Mell, Ilene Olsen, Bruce Holmberg, Jill Bolejake; Front row Kristin Papke, Sue Griffith and Deb Dahlberg.
Photo by Amy DoeunCh

By Amy Doeun

Contributing Writer

Rush City has been working with the Initiative Foundation out of River Falls for several years.
The city originally applied for and received a “Thriving Communities” Initiative grant about 3 1/2 years ago.
According to Amy Mell, City Administrator for Rush City, one of the first things the community sought was input from its members.
“We did a roundtable on what projects the community would like,” she said. “One-hundred eighty people came, and we decided on three projects. Then we (the committee) split into three groups.”
Deb Dahlberg was part of the planning for various community projects.
“We have been really appreciative and got a lot of input that was more than they (the Foundation) has ever experienced in a small community.”
The community decided it would like to focus on new signage coming into the city. Two signs have already been placed — one off the freeway by Dollar General and one on the north side of town along Old Highway 61. The committee hopes to add a third sign on the south side of town.
New playground equipment was also installed in the city park as part of the initiative, and twice yearly a bookmark listing community events comes out.
On March 18, community members gathered for a casino night at Chucker’s Bowling alley. This was the third casino night. Each year of the initiative, a night of gaming and fun has been held there. The organizers contract with a casino company that hosts a training for local volunteers on the art of dealing cards. This casino night, all the funds were slated to help finish up the sign project by adding lights to the two existing signs and helping fund the third sign.
Mell said that this is the final project for the Thriving Communities Initiative.
“Unfortunately, we will be wrapping up this year,” she said. “The first year we received a grant from the foundation, then we found some funding from other sources and businesses. The next year, we received another grant from the foundation and matched it. But we will be unable to continue.”
However, Mell stressed how pleased they were with the community input and involvement and how happy they were with the outcome of the projects.

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