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The Wellmark Foundation awards more than $370,000 in Small MATCH grants

November 13, 2018

Des Moines, IA — The Wellmark Foundation has awarded 17 Iowa organizations Matching Assets to Community Health (MATCH) grants. Applicants were able to request up to $25,000 in grant funding. To ensure community support for the grant projects, recipients were challenged to match this grant at 50 percent. Each of the grant recipients submitted projects that will 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 support organizations that have identified sustainable initiatives that provide opportunities for citizens to improve their overall well-being," said Becky Wampler Bland, The Wellmark Foundation executive director. "The longevity of these projects will continue to pay dividends years after the initial investment."

The 17 Iowa organizations that were selected to receive a 2018 Small MATCH grant include:

City of Earlham, $15,000
Tennis court restoration
The city of Earlham plans to restore its tennis courts, which are conveniently located in the center of town. The restoration will include resurfacing and repainting the courts while also installing new posts, nets and lights to enhance the safety and functionality of the area.

City of Forest City, $25,000
J Street Trail Connection
The J Street Trail Connection includes a trail extension, adding a pedestrian crosswalk and a sidewalk extension. This connection will create a safe area for pedestrians to cross Highway 69 so they can easily access community services, schools, parks and businesses.

City of Glenwood, $25,000
Trail and trailhead project
This project will connect Glenwood, Iowa, to Bellevue, Nebraska, and Council Bluffs, Iowa. It will create nearly 2.5 miles of paved trails with six bridges that will improve access to parks, youth athletic facilities, the aquatic center and several area schools. The trailhead will include a safe parking area for residents to engage in school and park activities.

City of Glenwood, $25,000
Vine Street pickleball courts
The city of Glenwood and the Southwest Iowa Pickleball Committee are working to create six pickleball courts. This project will replace the city’s dilapidated 50-year-old tennis courts with well-designed, low-maintenance pickleball courts. These new courts will provide the first opportunity for outdoor pickleball play in Southwest Iowa.

City of Granger, $24,970
Trail hub and creek crossing
Through a community visioning process, Granger residents identified a need for more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly routes and facilities. As a result, the city will create a creek crossing and trail hub to connect residential neighborhoods, a sports complex, a park, an existing walking path and an elementary school for both walkers and bicyclists.

City of Ionia, $12,133
City park walking trail
This project will create a walking trail around the perimeter of the city park, which is comprised of nearly four acres of greenspace. The trail will be both pedestrian and bicycle friendly and will connect with two existing hard surfaces within the park.

City of Lamoni, $25,000
Recreational trail home pond spur
The city of Lamoni and the Recreational Trails Commission will develop a paved, 900-foot trail extension from the existing trail across the dam and spillway of Home Pond. The trail will provide a loop option for users and improve connectivity and safety. The extension will provide the user a panoramic view of the city of Lamoni’s scenic beauty.

City of Preston, $25,000
Westside Park walking path
This project will create a 2,000-foot walking path that will circle around Westside Park. The new concrete walking path will be well-lit and kept clear of snow and ice for year-round use. The path is designed to provide a space for residents to safely engage in activities that promote the health of mind, body and soul.

City of Vinton, $25,000
Splash pad
The Vinton Splash Pad will create a water-based play area for residents and visitors to enjoy healthy play interactions with others and their environment. The splash pad will have no admission fees and will be open to the public throughout the summer months.

City of Wapello, $4,200
Basketball court for Wapello's North Park
After losing an existing basketball court, the Wapello Hometown Pride Committee is working to create a new court in North Park. The basketball court will be installed by the fall and will create a safe environment for residents of all ages to use and enjoy.

Clarke County Conservation Board, $25,000
East Lake Trail

An 8-foot wide, concrete, multi-purpose trail connecting East Lake Park in rural Clarke County to Clarke Elementary School in Osceola will be constructed. The trail will also connect with a network of Safe Routes to School sidewalks and link multiple neighborhoods, activity centers, schools and retail establishments throughout Osceola together.

Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, $25,000
Lauridsen Skatepark
This project will create a state-of-the-art skatepark in downtown Des Moines for all ages and abilities to enjoy. The park will provide a safe and healthy place for all to be active. As one of the largest outdoor skateparks in the Midwest, it will engage both beginners and experienced skaters.

Des Moines County Conservation, $25,000
Big Hollow Recreation Area natural setting playground
The Big Hollow Recreation Area is a 798-acre county park that offers many outdoor recreation opportunities including camping, hunting, boating, hiking and swimming. This project will add an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant playground to the park. It will include slides, swings, rock walls, and a perimeter barrier with a concrete sidewalk that safely leads to the campground.

Friends of Garrigan High School, $21,177
Playground improvement project
This project involves the construction and installation of new playground equipment for children between the ages of four and 12 . The project is centered on the need for safe, educational, and handicap-accessible activities to stimulate movement, encourage exercise, and promote a healthy and active lifestyle for all students and residents.

Keokuk Parks Foundation, $25,000
5th Street pickleball courts
This project will convert a deteriorating, unused tennis court into six new pickleball courts. The city has multiple tennis courts, but no pickleball courts. Pickleball is a sport friendly to all ages and is rapidly growing in popularity.

Ottumwa Community School District, $25,000
Wilson playground project
This project will improve the quality of play for students and enrich the community with a new playground to serve the area. All existing equipment will be replaced and the park will be resurfaced with soft rubber.

Waukon Economic Development Corporation, $25,000
Let's Get Our Walk On, Waukon!
This project supports efforts to connect existing sidewalks along high-traffic areas in Waukon to create walking loops and paths for the community. The grant will allow the city to construct one of four sidewalk connections.

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.