MATTOON -- Grants totaling $20,000 were recently awarded through the Mattoon Community Trust to eight community nonprofit organizations.
The trust was created in 1984 through the estate of Mattoon resident Carrie Young for the betterment of her hometown, and this trust is administered by the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce.
"She had a special place in her heart for parks and recreation and programs that would benefit the entire community of Mattoon," said Chamber Executive Director Ed Dowd. He added that the grant committee focuses on following Young's wishes when it considers applications for funding.
Parks and recreation are part of several of this year's grants, such as a $5,000 grant for helping create a dog park. Mattoon City Council member Dave Cox, who is commissioner for parks, said the city has long been interested in developing a dog park and it was recently contacted by a group of Mattoon residents who want to partner with the city to help meet this goal.
Cox said Katrina Butler, Steve Ryan and others in the dog park group have been brainstorming ideas and they are in the beginning phases of planning a dog park somewhere on city property. He said Don Hance of the Hance Design Group is putting together drawings for a possible dog park.
"We think there is a need for a dog park. People young and old will really like having that option for their pets," Cox said. He added that a dog park also could serve those who are traveling with their pets and staying at pet-friendly hotels in Mattoon.
Another $5,000 grant through the Mattoon Community Trust has been awarded to the Mattoon Rotary Club to help construct a new picnic pavilion at Lake Mattoon. Cox said Rotary, represented by Gary Swearingen, is working with the Friends of of Lake Mattoon to replace the beach pavilion that the city needed to demolish because it had deteriorated and was deemed a safety hazard.
"We would like to have a new pavilion out there and we will assist with that project," Cox said, adding that the city does not have funding of its own available to construct a pavilion.
Other park-related grants included $2,500 to help Mattoon Area Family YMCA build a pavilion next to its property, $2,500 to help Mattoon Kiwanis Club partner with the YMCA to build a pavilion along the planned bike trail extension, $500 to help Camp New Hope fund sail shades for the benches in its new playground, and $500 to help the Coles County Council on Aging develop a green space area at the LifeSpan Center.
The Mattoon Community Trust also awarded $2,500 to help Fit-2-Serve to construct an observation deck for its "Farm to Table" program participants, and $1,500 to assist the Mattoon Public Library with acquiring new public access computers.