When it comes to making a community better, the Garrison Area Improvement Association (GAIA) works hard to ensure Garrison is a great place to live and work.
The organization was formed 32 years ago for the benefit of area businesses, charities and the overall betterment of Garrison. The organization has been able to touch just about every aspect of life in and around Garrison thanks to funds from charitable gaming.
From helping paint and repair the Garrison public pool, to funding a new scoreboard for the Underwood/Riverdale school district, to paying for a new sound system and lighting for the Sakakawea Area Council for the Arts to donating thousands of dollars to rural ambulance services there’s not much that gaming doesn’t help.
“Gaming has an absolutely huge impact. It makes things available to the community. It perpetuates business here and attracts new business. It makes Garrison a really nice community to live. There is always something to do in Garrison,” explains Deb Stoppler from GAIA.
Not only does GAIA donate funds, but they have a number of grants available.
“Grants are for businesses or organizations that are putting on events. We have an internship grant, business sponsorship and daycare grants. Depending on what the needs are for the community, some years we use them and some years we don’t,” Stoppler said.
The organization also works closely with Fort Stevenson State Park to improve visitor experience.
“We purchased a trolley car that goes out to campers and brings them into town so they can visit the talking trail, dairy queen, and just experience the town,” explains Stoppler.
Charitable giving from the Garrison Area Improvement Association is made possible thanks to establishments like Hometown Tavern & Bottle Shop and the Garrison Golf Course and the Spillway Coffee House and Knights Bar & Grill in Riverdale.