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MRHD awards $1.2M to Moville medical clinic, Briar Cliff, Western Iowa Tech

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SIOUX CITY -- Missouri River Historic Development on Friday awarded grants totaling $1.2 million for three projects that include a new medical clinic and wellness center in Moville, a university program designed to increase the supply of workers in the metro area, and another college program designed to expand aviation in the region.

It's the first time that MRHD, a nonprofit group that holds the state gaming license for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City, has sponsored a competitive economic development grant program of this size.

Moville clinic lot

The future site of a medical clinic and wellness center is shown Nov. 29 in Moville, Iowa, just off Highway 20. Missouri River Historical Development on Friday awarded a $700,000 grant to help construct the complex.

“MRHD is pleased to be in a position to invest back into the Woodbury County region in a way that fosters a strong economic environment, county-wide,” board President Stacy Harmelink said.

To be eligible for the matching grants, applicants were required to:

Stacy Harmelink

Harmelink

-- Complete within two years a project that would "clearly align with one of MRHD’s economic development areas of focus: creation and retention of jobs; development of a critical job force; providing a new project or service having a substantial impact on the community or development of the community through improved quality of life."

-- Show they could "leverage private, public and/or community resources and maximize collaboration with stakeholders throughout the community."

The single largest grant, $700,000, was awarded to Moville Area Medical Clinic, which plans to construct a new bi-level complex at the site of a former motel, along a frontage Road, just off of Highway 20. The current four-member medical clinic has run out of room, according to a news release from MRHD.

The project is expected to employ 14 medical personnel, 1 to 2 physicians, 2 to 3 mid level practitioners, 3 to 5 nurses, a laboratory technician, a radiology technician and 1 to 2 receptionists.

The new facility, which will be leased to the medical providers, will have space for on-site laboratory and radiology services in addition to an expanded physical therapy/rehabilitation unit. The wellness center will feature fitness and wellness equipment for the community to use. 

MRHD also awarded grants of $250,000 apiece to Briar Cliff University and Western Iowa Tech Community College.

Briar Cliff's funds will be used to create a Health Care Workforce Training Facility on the Sioux City campus. The proposed 14,225-square-foot capital improvement project will repurpose space and add new building areas for health care education and clinical services.

The new facilities will allow the private university to expand its clinical-based education programs that will address the workforce challenges and shortages faced by rural and underserved communities in Woodbury County. The new spaces will serve as a state-of-the-art, centralized hub for teaching the health care sciences, with the goal of expanding the number of students going into high demand fields. 

WITCC will use its funding to develop a new Aviation Maintenance Technician program on its Sioux City campus. The college will partner with Oracle Aviation, which also has announced a partnership with Morningside University on a fully-accredited pilot academy. The two programs are designed to complement each other and support expanded usage of Sioux Gateway Airport’s runways as a venue for training, as well as an airport with the capacity to commercially repair and maintain aircraft.

MRHD funds will go to the initial development phase, allowing WITCC to purchase program equipment to meet the training needs for a full-capacity program of up to 50 students per year.

Oracle also inked a deal with the city, which is providing incentives to help construct a $7 million hangar and office space at the city-owned airport. 

With its share of revenues from the Hard Rock casino, MRHD has now awarded $2.1 million to various nonprofits, civic organizations and local government entities this year. That's more than the nonprofit gaming entity has awarded in any previous year.

Grants delayed from 2020 due to the economic uncertainty of the pandemic were awarded, in addition to the nonprofit's regular grant programs and the first-year economic development initiative.

“MRHD is pleased to show its support of so many area organizations who have persisted, despite Covid-19 related disruptions and we are inspired by those who found ways to pursue new and continuing projects designed to improve the quality of life in Woodbury County,” said Harmelink, who noted the organization also will soon be announcing its holiday gifts.

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