Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that children and families living in temporary FEMA housing in Joplin will soon have a new playground, thanks to resources made available by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
"All children need a place to play, a place to run, to climb, and slide. There are currently more than 300 children living in temporary FEMA housing in Joplin, they deserve a safe and accessible playground. The grants we're announcing today are part of our ongoing commitment to help the recovery effort," Gov. Nixon said. "Because if families stay in Joplin, neighborhoods will rebuild, businesses will reopen and the community will move forward."
The playground will be located on land currently vacant and located between the Jeff Taylor Memorial Mobile Home Park and the Hope Haven Mobile Home Park. Plans call for the playground to include a jungle gym, a walking track, a volleyball court and a small soccer field.
A diverse variety of community organizations have worked together to facilitate the grant process, including Neighborhood Life House, Joplin LiveSmart, the City of Joplin's Planning and Parks Departments and the Jasper County Health Department .
The Missouri Department of Economic Development has identified $200,000 in Community Development Block Grants to purchase and install playground equipment near the temporary FEMA housing site in Joplin. The Community Development Block Grant Program offers grants to small Missouri communities to improve local facilities, address critical health and safety concerns, and develop a greater capacity for growth.
Additionally, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is making $700,000 available from the Scrap Tire Surface Material Grant Program to the Cities of Joplin and Duquesne, along with school districts in Jasper and Newton Counties, to provide safe, recycled surface material for new playgrounds. This grant program is funded by a 50-cent scrap tire fee collected on the sale of new tires approved by the Missouri General Assembly in 2009. Scrap Tire Surface Material Grants are available annually for the cost and delivery of scrap tire surface material for playgrounds, running tracks, walking trails or other surfacing projects approved by the department. Public schools, parks, non-profit day care centers, other not-for-profit organizations and some local governmental organizations are eligible to submit applications.
A portion of the DNR scrap tire funding will go to provide a safe, environmentally sustainable surface for the playground area.