Wellness center grants on hold

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The Seward Wellness Center is well into its next steps but was denied a $1 million grant.

City Administrator Greg Butcher told the Seward City Council at its July 19 meeting that Seward Changing the Game, the nonprofit organization working with the city on the wellness center, received notice it was not granted the $1 million it applied for from the Peter Kiewit Foundation.

“(The project) is doing too well money-wise,” Butcher said was the reason behind the denial. “We feel that’s indicative of most of these grants.”

The nonprofit has held off on applying for additional grants for the time being, he said.

Meanwhile, the city received its contract for the $5 million shovel-ready grant it was awarded from the Department of Economic Development.

The city will get $2.5 million of the grant up front, and the rest will come at the end of the project, meaning financing for the middle stages of the project will have to come from bonds, pledges or other grants.

Butcher said the contract stipulates that the project should be completed within three years.

Changing the Game and the city are working on legal agreements to transfer the funds the organization receives to the city, who will be the one making the payments.

It also is working with its attorney to lock in pledges.

Butcher said the next step is for the city to put out a request for qualifications for design and engineering firms.

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