Charitable Fund Is Established For Parks

By ERIC X. VICCARO

eviccaro@stegenherald.com

Ste. Genevieve Ward 4 Alderwoman Ashley Armbruster reported during the March 29 Parks and Recreation Board meeting, the official establishment of a charitable fund.

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks, based in Springfield, is serving as the fund’s administrator.

This organization provides philanthropic leadership to “build stronger communities” through managing both a wide variety of funds and grant writing.

During that March 29 meeting, Armbruster provided everyone with a specification sheet with “ways to give.”

The Ste. Genevieve Parks and Recreation Board, through the city, is partnering with the Ste. Genevieve County Community Foundation — an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

“It gives us an arm for donations,” said Ste. Genevieve city administrator Happy Welch. “We will use it for park improvements, and citizens (donor) can get a tax write-off.”

The online portal to donate has been established, with the following web address: www.cfozarks.org/stegenparks.

Web browsers will be taken to a page that allows them to provide either a one-time donation or a recurring monthly monetary gift.

The gift, ranging from $25 to $500 and other, is specifically designated for the City of Ste. Genevieve’s Parks and Recreation fund.

Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express all are accepted, and donors will be asked to fill in certain information fields.

There also is a reCaptcha button patrons must click to prove they aren’t a robot – and you may make your donation in honor or memory of someone.

Donors also may make out a check, paying to the order of the Ste. Genevieve Community Foundation. Use the memo line, “Ste. Genevieve Parks and Recreation.”

A P.O. Box has been set up, with this address: Ste. Genevieve Community Foundation, P.O. Box 247, Ste. Genevieve, MO  63670.

Checks may also be dropped off at city hall; however, those donations may take longer to process – as noted in the “ways to give” literature.

The group during the meeting said that cash donations only will be accepted and collected at fundraising events such as the forthcoming movie series.

Welch said the city already has donated $2,500 to the fund, and additional donations already are coming in. It’s estimated more than $3,000 has been raised so far.

The Ste. Genevieve County Community Foundation is expected to donate a set amount for a portion of the soon-to-be reconstructed walking trail – which is part of Phase One of the Pere Marquette Park Master Plan put together by engineers Nick and Mary Donze last year.

Welch said the city is still awaiting word on acceptance of grants — through Missouri Department of Natural Resources. However, that decision won’t be made until late summer.

“It’s a start,” Welch said, “It’s something we can afford to do right now.”

The board also is looking into developing a QR Code, which would take donors to the aforementioned portal.

The proposed grant would be roughly $58,000, which would cover 500 to 1,000 feet of the three-quarter mile trail. Any grant money the city receives must be spent within three years.

Park board chairman John Conard and others this past weekend were to mark out the trail as it’s drawn out in the master plan. Engineers will then perform their own walk through.

In related matters, board member Lauren Smothers reported there will be a playground subcommittee meeting on April 8. Smothers also has talked with regional playground equipment vendors.

ACTION ITEMS

• Board member Mark Buchheit made a motion to spend up to $2,000 to finish a sidewalk at Main Street Park.

Barbara Basler-Peterson seconded the motion, and it was unanimously accepted.

• Smothers requested a park bench be placed along the trail in Valle Springs.

Field operations supervisor Gary Roth said he had an extra bench, which will be painted green and subsequently installed.

Roth asked about placing a dog receptacle in Main Street Park. There have been recent complaints about pet owners placing waste in the bag; however, leaving them in the grass. There also have been complaints about littering in general.