MATTOON -- Plans for development of the city's first dog park, new playground equipment at Cunningham Park, and other park and garden projects recently received a financial boost.
The Mattoon Community Trust has awarded grants totaling $20,000 to five community nonprofit organizations. The trust was created in 1984 through the estate of Mattoon resident Carrie Young for the betterment of her hometown, particularly parks and recreation and programs. The Mattoon Chamber of Commerce administers this trust.
"It's an honor for us to administer the trust. I take great pride in being able to help the organizations fund their projects," said Chamber Executive Director Ed Dowd. He added that the trust, which allocates $15,000-$20,000 per year, has awarded nearly $700,000 in grant funding to more than 60 organizations since its inception.
Dowd said one of this year's grants, $4,500, went to the Douglas-Hart Foundation to help fund enhancements to Friendship Garden, a "beautiful hidden gem" located at 1701 Lafayette Ave. The enhancements include a gazebo, walkway and terraced gardens.
The Mattoon Kiwanis Club received a $4,250 grant for installing new playground equipment in Cunningham Park. This city park currently only has a small playground that dates back to when Washington Elementary School was located on the adjacent property. The school building was demolished in 2004.
A $4,000 grant was awarded to the Mattoon dog park steering committee to help fund development of a 9-acre dog park off the south end of South 12th Street. The Mattoon City Council voted on May 1 to designate this city property as the future site of the dog park.
Committee member Katrina Butler said they plan to hold a fundraising campaign next year to help ensure that the $80,000-$100,000 needed for the dog park's development is in place before construction begins on this three-phase project. She said they appreciate all the grant support from the trust established by Carrie Young
"The dog park fits right in with her wishes. The trust has been a substantial help in getting this project off the ground," Butler said. She added that those who would like to help with the dog park project can contact her at email@example.com.
Mattoon Rotary Club received a $3,750 grant to help complete the new public picnic pavilion near the city's Lake Mattoon beach. The project plans call for the new pavilion to provide space for public events and private gatherings, such a company picnics.
Fit-2-Serve, a faith-based nonprofit organization, received a $3,500 grant to provide for a wheelchair accessibility project at its property at the northeast corner of 14th Street and Lafayette Avenue. The project will provide accessibility for the community gardening plot, garden observation deck and teaching kitchen there.