The Zearing Fire Department, in need of major structural and physical upgrades to its fire station, and the city of Collins, which looks to revitalize its downtown to showcase its heritage, both received major boosts in grant funding from the Story County Community Foundation on Thursday.

“While these funding decisions are never easy, we are pleased to partner with each of these organizations to support furthering the work of their mission and work, said Sunni Kamp, executive director of the Story County Community Foundation in a press release. “The unwavering leadership and commitment that our entire nonprofit community demonstrates to help our communities thrive makes us proud to serve as a partner in philanthropy in Story County.”

The Zearing Fire Department was awarded $25,000 to support its two-phase project for physical and structural modification of its 1970’s building that will facilitate the consolidation of their Emergency Medical Services (EMS) vehicle and volunteers to its Main Street building.

In July, the Story County Board of Supervisors approved a $5,300 facade grant request for the project, and without improvements, the existing building had a shelf-life of up to 10 years. Costs for such an endeavor would have been outside of the city’s financial threshold, according to county documents.

Among the issues listed with the current structure are deteriorating walls, a failed gutter system and an inadequately installed vapor barrier system that was causing long-term damage to the structural integrity of the 39-year-old building.

Currently, the emergency vehicles are stationed in a structure near Minerva Creek.

The city of Collins was awarded a $14,000 Community Grant for additions to its current community center that includes a display space for local artifacts and historical research and a mural walk, to showcase the city’s local art, heritage and traditions.

The project has been described as a potential new attraction for Story County and a “stopping point” that complements the upcoming improvements of the Heart of Iowa Trail.

“SCCF’s contribution will provide a huge boost to our efforts in revitalizing our town and in helping to guarantee that our local heritage is protected for future generations,” said Brett Comegys, Mayor of Collins in a statement.

The following is a list of Story County discretionary grantees and the program or fund that received a 2019 Community Grant award from the Story County Community Foundation.

Community Betterment: City of Colo (Colo Community Center Renovations project); KOHI (Community Engagement Productions program)

Education: Iowa College Access Network (I.C.A.N.) (Preparing for Life After High School - Education and Training program); Raising Readers (Thrive by Five program); Threshold Learning Center (TLC Kids Club & Fields Schools Wish List program); The Arc of Story County (Health and Nutrition program classes)

Environment: Prairie Rivers of Iowa Resource Conservation and Development (Water Quality Monitoring Program)

Health and Wellness: City of McCallsburg (McCallsburg Wellness Center); Maxwell Area Renewal Committee (Automated External Defibrillator (AED) purchase)

Human Services: ACCESS – Assault Care Center Extending Shelter & Support (Ames office technology upgrade); ChildServe – Ames (Universal Exercise Unit equipment purchase); Emergency Resident Project (Shelter Diversion Program); Food Bank of Iowa (Feeding Story County program); Friendship Ark Inc. (Community Inclusion through Day Hab program); Mainstream Living (The Center - Safety and Accessibility Improvements project); Martha’s House of Hope (Technology and appliance upgrade); Wings of Refuge (Transitional Living Center Renovation project