4 southeast Mo. projects receive more than $3M in grants

Four southeast Missouri projects recently received more than $3 million in grants.
Four southeast Missouri projects recently received more than $3 million in grants.(Pexels)
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 2:42 PM CDT
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SIKESTON, Mo. (KFVS) - Four southeast Missouri projects recently received more than $3 million in grants.

The city, Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation, Grace Community Center and the SEMO Food Bank were awarded grants totaling $3,317,353 on Thursday, March 23 through the Department of Economic Development’s Community Revitalization Program.

According to the city, a total of $94.15 million was awarded for 70 projects around the state. The program, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, is focused on investing in communities of all sizes to support local priorities, encourage economic recovery and build resilience for the future.

The Community Revitalization Grant Program was launched in September 2022.

The program awarded competitive grants to applicants, including municipalities, counties, and nonprofit organizations, to benefit households, communities and small businesses affected by the pandemic.

Details on recipients of the Community Revitalization Grant Program are available here.

A total of $100 million was allocated to the program. A portion of the funding total was reserved for each Missouri region based on population, and every region except for the North region exhausted its reserved portion.

DED will hold a second round of funding for the North region, which initially had $10 million available and will have approximately $4 million available in the second round.

Details on the second round will be shared at a later date.

City of Sikeston

The city received $770,634 to expand Legion Park.

According to a release from the city, Sikeston Director of Parks and Recreation Dustin Care said the city parking lot to the west of Legion Park will be updated from asphalt to green space and a downtown bathroom will be built.

He said an open-air market, for events like the farmer’s market, will be built as part of the project, along with the purchase of a portable ice skating rink that will be open seasonally.

Care said he thought the ice skating rink would be open around the beginning of December to coincide with the Downtown Parade and tree lighting events.

“I’m really excited about the ice-skating rink,” Care continued. “I feel like we’ve been talking about that for years. Hopefully it will draw more people from the area, not only Sikeston but surrounding communities, and get more people to come to Sikeston and our parks.”

Also included in the project is expanding the rail trail to Sunset Drive. It currently stops at Scott Street.

The project also includes the partial street closure of New Madrid Street from Malone down to Front Street.

Care said it will be converted to a grass area and be part of the park.

He said this is the first grant he has ever played a major role in.

“It’s something that is definitely needed.”

Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation

According to the release DAEOC received $1,089,295. The organization will renovate a vacant downtown Sikeston building to turn it into a regional community and cultural center.

They said the $2.2 million center, which will be known as the Malone Park Academy of the Arts, will have individual and family-oriented activities.

Programming will include: music education, production and recording; photography and visual arts instruction, workshops and exhibits; dance, drama and performing arts classes and productions; academic tutoring; stability and strengthening classes such as yoga and pilates; community service learning opportunities and youth-focused after school, weekend and summer activities.

According to the city, local and nationally known guest speakers, artists, musicians and performers will be invited to visit the shelter.

Joel Evans, DAEOC president and CEO, said the concept for the project began with DAEOC Board Chairman Mike Marshall, who is a music lover and a true believer in the talent that exists within the youth of our community.

The concept for an Academy of Art grew as Evans’ belief in making fine art more accessible to all expanded the scope of the project.

Grace Community Center

Grace Community Center was awarded $1,107,424 for a youth center at the corner of Compress and Petty.

The city said the center will provide a place where youth can go for activities, food programs and educational opportunities.

“We thank God that we were chosen by the state to receive this grant,” said Kenny King, co-pastor of Grace Bible Fellowship. “We appreciate everyone who helped us secure the grant. We are excited to be able to provide a community center on the west end.”

SEMO Food Bank

SEMO Food Bank received a $350,000 grant for new vehicles.

According to the food bank, they will buy two new box trucks with refrigeration and liftgates. The trucks are on order and should arrive in early 2024.

They said the grant will also allow them to buy more food to reach four low-income communities.