The Vision Iowa Board today awarded grants to a couple of projects in western and northeastern Iowa. Board spokesperson Jessica O’Riley says a $675,000 Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grant will help finance the construction of a Veterans Service Center in Waverly.

“We really think this is a first-of-its-kind (project) in the state,” O’Riley says. “Several various veterans organization have gotten together and they’re combining into this one service center so vets have one place to go to find all the information they may need. It’s also going to be a functioning community center, so people can hold receptions, showers, and graduation parties there.”

The total cost of the Veterans Service Center is estimated at just under $3.6 million. O’Riley noted that actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, have donated $5,000 toward the project in Waverly.

The Vision Iowa Board also awarded a one-million dollar CAT grant to the YMCA of Greater Omaha to build a new facility in downtown Council Bluffs.

“There will be a health and wellness center with walking track, a warm water therapy pool, a gymnasium with bleacher seating, an aquatics center, an early childhood education center, a teen center, a family center, an outdoor splash zone, and parking,” O’Riley said.

The new 73,000-square-foot YMCA carries a total price tag of just over $16 million.