BHCGA denies request for Honor Flight funding - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

BHCGA denies request for Honor Flight funding

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BLACK HAWK COUNTY (KWWL) -- It all comes down to guidelines.  Monday night, the Black Hawk County Gaming Association denied a funding request for $200,000.  The money would have helped pay for Honor Flight trips planned for eastern Iowa veterans this year.

The Gaming Association distributes casino profits on a quarterly basis, to provide property tax relief to cities and counties, fund capital improvements, and make charitable contributions. The board focuses mostly on Black Hawk County, but also serves  Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Grundy and Tama counties.

Honor Flight trips fly aging World War II veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the many memorials in the nation's capital.  But an honorable cause or not, board members say the Honor Flight trips do not meet the Gaming Association's funding guidelines and procedures.  The guideline lists "trips" as a request the board will not consider.

Board vice president Rick Lubben says, "The decision to not allow it to move forward... It's been devastating to hear for those proposed participants but we're just following our own rules."

Lubben agrees that the veterans deserve the utmost respect.  "What these gentleman did, its beyond comprehension, they should be honored for such things, but this could also be a situation where we open a can of worms that in the future, after the Honor Flight is long over, we've caused more problems than we can solve."

Honor Flight organizer Craig White says the decision is a slap in the face.
"These guys went to war. They don't want to be told they don't fit in a scope of rules, that they've opened a can of worms."

Gaming board member and U.S. Army veteran Don Hoth also cites the Gaming Association's guidelines.

Hoth says one board member has put in a request to reconsider the decision.  It may be on the board's monthly agenda, when it meets again Feb. 21.

During the last round of grants, the BHCGA awarded more than $5.5 million.
Most of that money is going towards the new sports plex going in downtown Waterloo.
$310,000 is paying for a new elevator at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, and $159,000 went to Main Street Waterloo, to improve lighting on West 4th Street, and make Park Avenue and West 5th Street more appealing.

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