August 28, 2018
Des Moines, IA — The Wellmark Foundation has awarded 12 Iowa organizations Matching Assets to Community Health (MATCH) grants. Applicants were able to request up to $100,000 in grant funding. To ensure community support for the grant project, recipients were challenged to match the award amount dollar-for-dollar. Each of the grant recipients submitted projects that can help individuals, families and communities achieve better health through built environment initiatives that encourage physical activity and/or access to and consumption of nutritious foods.
"The Wellmark Foundation is proud to award a cumulative total of $996,289.50 to these 12 grant recipients," said Becky Wampler, The Wellmark Foundation executive director. "We are proud to support these organizations as they focus on sustainable initiatives that will improve the well-being of citizens and their communities well into the future."
The 12 Iowa organizations that were awarded grants include:
City of Burlington, $56,250
DeEdwin and Gladys White Memorial Park Improvements
This project will maintain and improve access to parks in neighborhoods that serve a large minority population. Due to the age of the existing park, the pavement is cracked and crumbling and the playground equipment is deteriorating. Park improvements will include a new playground and play field, new handicap accessible sidewalks, resealed and striped basketball courts, new lighting, new landscaping and a new park shelter.
City of Fort Madison, $100,000
Connecting Fort Madison Phase III
Phase III of the trail will continue the connection to the area hospital and Baxter’s Sports Complex. The approximate one-mile concrete trail will be 10-feet wide and have a bridge crossing a small wetland. Residents currently use the busy highway to walk their children to the hospital for appointments. Phase III will provide these pedestrians with a safe walking area as an alternative to the dangerous highway.
City of Guttenberg, $100,000
Wave of the Future Campaign
Recent pool inspections revealed that the Guttenberg Municipal Pool is in desperate need of repairs and does not comply with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The new pool will comply with the ADA and include six lap lanes, a 13-foot diving board and space for water aerobics and swimming lessons. Once complete, the new pool should last for 50 years before more renovations would be needed.
City of Knoxville, $100,000
This is a multi-phase project focusing on the renovation of Young’s Park. This grant will allow the city to revitalize the park to include amenities for individuals of all ages and abilities. Amenities will include, but not be limited to, a splash pad, a rain garden, walking paths, a skate park, restroom facilities and more.
City of Laurens, $70,000
Pocahontas County Trails Phase I
This project supports the acquisition and development of a 2.2-mile trail corridor in northwest Laurens. The new trail will connect to an existing, 0.9-mile trail located in the southeast section of Laurens. Both trails are part of the larger Pocahontas County Trails Master Plan that seeks to connect the existing Three Rivers Trail in eastern Pocahontas County to the Rolfe, Plover, Havelock and Laurens communities.
City of Marion, $97,686.50
Marion Independent School District Campus Connector
As a component of Marion Independent School District’s (MISD) adopted Safe Routes to School plan, the MISD Campus Connector will provide a trail connection from the heart of the district to Vernon Middle School using a 10-foot wide side-path. The trail connection will allow for both cycling and pedestrian travel and provide safer off-street options for student groups traveling within the district.
City of Oelwein, $87,353
Wings Park Improvements
The city of Oelwein is replacing a bridge in total disrepair. Replacement of this bridge will connect the existing bike trail from Wings Park School, to Wings Park and the Oelwein Aquatic Center. It will provide community members safe passage to Wings Park playground equipment, softball and baseball diamonds, a skateboard park, an apple orchard and picnic areas.
Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, $65,000
Dubuque Outdoor Skate Park
This skate park will incorporate street and park-style elements that are suitable for all skill levels. New amenities will benefit both participants and observers while security cameras support area safety. Once complete, the skate park will draw local and regional users including skateboarders, in-line skaters, scooter users and BMX bikers.
Monroe County Health Care Foundation, $100,000
Albia Trails System
When fully developed, the Albia Trails System will be a 10-foot wide concrete trail and will loop around Albia. The trail will connect schools, the aquatic center, health care facilities, recreational fields, the reservoir and the Welcome Home Soldier Monument. It will also provide a safe route for children traveling to school and serve as an economic attraction for visitors and tourists.
Pottawattamie County Conservation Board, $100,000
Pottawattamie County Trails
The Pottawattamie County Conservation Board and Pottawattamie County Trail Association are moving into phase two of the Railroad Highway Trail. The new trail additions will extend 4.23 miles from Weston to Underwood, Iowa. Once completed, the 15-mile trail will be the first rural trail built as part of the Frontier Iowa Trail system and will connect multiple Iowa communities.
Shelby County Trails Board, $100,000
Ballpark to Ballpark
The Shelby County Trails Board is developing a 10-foot-wide, multi-use, paved trail between Panama and Portsmouth, Iowa. The 6.5-mile trail will separate recreational bike and pedestrian traffic from State Highway 191 and crosses four waterways. Local artists will create artwork on the trail bridges that display aspects of a healthy lifestyle.
Westminster Presbyterian Church, $20,000
Community Refugee Garden
The Community Refugee Garden project will remove 10,000 square feet of Westminster Presbyterian Church’s parking lot and replace it with community gardening space for refugee families. This will help refugee families integrate into the community, reconnect them to the agricultural heritage of their homeland and provide the opportunity to grow healthy, culturally appropriate vegetables for their families.
Since 2011, The Wellmark Foundation has provided more than $9 million in grant funding to communities across Iowa and South Dakota. The 2019 grant opportunities will be posted in late December.