DNR recommends all-accessible playground for federal funds

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has recommended a proposed all-accessible playground in Cape Girardeau County as the recipient of a $75,000 grant.

Proposed at Cape County Park North, Melaina's Magical Playland is one of 11 projects in the state recommended to receive more than $600,000 in federal grants to assist with park and recreational needs. Criteria for receiving the recommendation were based on recreational needs of the communities, planning goals and specific or unique attributes, according to a news release from the Department of Natural Resources.

The U.S. Department of Interior's National Park Service must now approve the recommendations before the grants are awarded. Twenty-one applications requesting more than $1.1 million in grant funding were submitted to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Andrea Cunningham is a driving force behind raising funds for the playground named in memory of her daughter, Melaina. "This makes me even more optimistic that our goal will be achieved," Cunningham said. "We're getting closer, and in order to meet our goal, I hope people will want to step up and help us achieve that. The biggest part of it is getting people educated in the first place and to realize how important it is to our community."

The grant is the latest source of funding for the playground, which has received pledges and monetary donations of about $300,000.

Groups that have donated or pledged money toward the cause are St. Paul Lutheran School, $10,500; Cape Girardeau Noon Optimist Club, $100,000; Cape Girardeau County Commission, $150,000; and Jackson Jaycee Charitable Foundation, $10,000. Additionally, Abbey Road Christian Church hosted a fundraiser Sunday, raising at least $1,600, though more funds are still pouring in, Cunningham said.

A committee dedicated to raising funds for the playground plans to launch a website by the end of the month where people can visit to learn more and donate to the cause. Check donations to the playground may be mailed to Melaina Cunningham and Friends Park Fund, P.O. Box 211, Cape Girardeau, MO 63703. Questions about the playground may be sent to Cunningham by e-mail at cunninghammail@yahoo.com.

bblackwell@semissourian.com

243-8600

Pertinent address:

Cape Girardeau, MO

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