Feb. 2, 2023
Grants fund 11 projects to improve playgrounds, gardens and other amenities in rural communities
The Community Foundation of the Ozarks, in partnership with the Coover Charitable Foundation managed by Commerce Trust Company, awarded $250,000 to 11 projects across the Ozarks that will improve outdoor public spaces for residents and visitors.
The presentation of the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation annual grants for rural communities took place during a virtual event on Feb. 2. The focus of this year’s program is improvements to public spaces following renewed interest and activity in outdoor experiences and recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Celebration of Public Spaces grants were awarded to:
- City of Ava: $24,479 to improve the municipal park in the Douglas County seat with ADA-compliant, inclusive equipment and a two-bay swing set.
- City of Buffalo: $13,850 to renovate restrooms and add baby-changing stations at the public park in the Dallas County seat.
- Douglas County Council on Aging: $22,070 to build accessible, raised community garden beds where seniors can grow produce.
- Eleven Point Valley Community Center: $25,000 to create a new playground in the Oregon County community of Thomasville where the playground was destroyed in 2017 flooding.
- Eminence R-1 School District: $25,000 to replace unsafe equipment at the Shannon County school’s public park playground.
- Greenfield R-IV School District: $21,722 to build a community garden space at the elementary school in Dade County.
- Hammond Mill Camp Inc.: $24,801 to improve the historic camp’s bathhouse and dining hall in rural Ozark County.
- Niangua TLC: $25,000 to complete fencing around the playground and improve security for pre-K through 8th-grade students.
- Oak Hill R-1 School District: $25,000 to upgrade playground equipment and resurface the walking trail at the rural Dent County school.
- Ozark Greenways: $18,078 to improve flood-damaged sections of the Frisco Highline Trail in Polk County.
- Southwest Missouri Coalition of Charities and Community Services: $25,000 to create a small park and repair the historic gazebo in Stotts City, a community in Lawrence County.
Julia Dorothy Coover, a 30-year Commerce employee, founded the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation in 1992 to honor her husband’s memory. With these projects, the Coover Charitable Foundation has awarded nearly $8 million in grants to benefit the Ozarks since its partnership with the CFO began in 2001.
“This year’s focus on improving public spaces is a natural fit for rural Missouri, where the region’s beauty and outdoor experiences rank among our state’s most valued assets,” said Jill Reynolds, senior vice president at Commerce Trust.