April 4, 2002

Memphis Receives $170,000 Grant To Help Renovate Swimming Pool

While it is still a little cool to be thinking about swimming that is exactly what was on the minds of many Memphis residents March 27 when the city learned it will be receiving a $170,000 grant to build a new swimming pool.

More than $2.5 million in federal grant money was awarded to 18 communities in Missouri to assist with park and recreation needs across the state. The grants are part of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which can be used by local city, county and state governments and school districts to acquire, develop and renovate outdoor recreation projects.

"I'm proud to announce a new pool will be coming to the city of Memphis," announced Ron Alexander on March 27 at the candidate forum held at the Memphis Theatre.

The $170,000 federal grant will be combined with a 50% match of local funds and in-kind services to allow the city to build a new swimming pool at the existing location.

Alexander indicated the plans are to begin the process on September 1.

"We hope to have all our paperwork in line by then," Alexander stated. "That way we will not interrupt this summer's swimming season yet we will have enough time to get the new pool built this fall. Then we will be right back in business next year."

Last summer the Memphis city swimming pool served more than 6,500 customers, or an average of roughly 110 swimmers each day. Of course a majority of those were children under the age of 14, but that figure did include more than 500 adults. The facility also hosted a number of evening swimming parties and also provides Red Cross swimming lessons.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is made available through the U.S. Department of Interior's National Park Service. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources received 29 applications requesting more than $3.8 million in grant funding. The State Inter-Agency Council for Outdoor Recreation made the award recommendations for the federal grant program. No state money was offered in this program after funding for the project, which previously had offered a 65% match grant, evaporated this year.

This marked the second year the City of Memphis, with the assistance of Northeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission, had filed a grant application for the program.

"Last year 14 projects were funded by the program and we were the next in line, but did not get the grant money we needed," Alexander said. "This year there were twice as many applicants but we were fortunate to be among the 18 applications approved."

The new swimming pool has been in the works for nearly a decade. The city has been saving money for the project over this time span and Alexander stated it has the funding to match the federal grant.

In addition to the city funds numerous in-kind donations helped secure the grant. Alexander said the Scotland County R-I High School horticulture class has pledged to do the landscaping work once the pool is completed. He noted that the Boy Scouts proposal to build a new scout house at Legion Park next to the pool also helped secure the grant.

"Of course it didn't help our cause either when we turned over 100 signatures from boys and girls in this town telling them how much we need a new pool," Alexander said.

The NEMO Solid Waste Management District will aid the program by securing recycled and refurbished park benches and tables for the swimming pool.

The project marks the second time Memphis has been approved to receive the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In 1978 Memphis received an $89,613 grant for the Memphis Municipal Park (Johnson Park).

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