Grant could give park a facelift

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Cassville R-IV School District has passed the first hurdle in obtaining funding through a federal grant that would help finance renovations at Rocky Edmondson Park.

On June 13, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt announced that the R-IV district was among 25 schools and communities that will be recommended to the National Park Service to receive more than $755,000 in federal grants to assist with park and recreation needs.

The school district is asking for $29,610 in grant funding to renovate facilities at the park, according to Superintendent Jim Orrell. The project will require a 55 percent match under the grant guidelines.

The grants are part of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is a federal program that can be used to acquire, develop and renovate outdoor recreation projects.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources received 48 applications requesting more than $1.9 million in grant funding. Only 25 applications were chosen for a state recommendation.

The funds are administered through the U.S. Department of Interior's National Park Service and the National Park Service must approve the recommendations before the grants are awarded.

According to Orrell, the R-IV District applied for the grant back in October of 2006. It has taken nine months for the district to receive the state's recommendation. Orrell said he does not know when the grant decision will be made at the federal level.

In the meantime, the district has already begun work to upgrade the existing park pavilion and will also begin to replace bridges at the park that have been damaged by flood waters.

"We're going to start upgrading the park irregardless of whether or not we receive the grant funds," Orrell said. "The park has gotten run down and needs some attention."

The district is also considering adding a second pavilion, new picnic tables and possibly restroom facilities.

The park, which is located on 13th Street, is used by the public and also serves as the district's outdoor classroom. Cassville's Greenway Trail runs from Rocky Edmondson Park to the city's South Park.

Bill and Hazel Edmond-son deeded the park property to the R-IV School District in January of 1979 in honor of their son, Major Williams "Rocky" Edmondson, USAF, who was listed as missing in action from the Vietnam War on May of 1966.

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