DUQUESNE, Mo. — The city of Duquesne wants to make sure people remember the residents of this small community who died in the May 22, 2011, tornado.
In a first step toward building a memorial park and trail next to Duquesne City Hall, the city has received a $96,886 grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, which operates the Missouri State Parks division.
It was one of seven grants, collectively worth a little more than $1 million, awarded by Missouri State Parks earlier this month from money provided by the Federal Highway Administration. The city of Cassville also received $53,101 to pave part of a trail in its South Park.
The city of Duquesne has been working on plans to build a city park on 2 acres of land next door to City Hall.
Getting money for a memorial trail was the first phase in the construction of the new park, said Gerritt Brinks, executive director of the Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council, which is managing the project for Duquesne. The park will memorialize Duquesne residents killed in the 2011 tornado that destroyed large parts of Joplin and Duquesne.
A total of 161 people were killed in the storm, including nine from Duquesne. Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed along the 20th Street corridor into Duquesne south of Duquesne City Hall.
“We want to make sure people remember those who passed away in the city of Duquesne,” Brinks said. “It often gets overshadowed that Duquesne was hit very hard by that storm.”
Details of the memorial are still to be worked out, but it could include a plaque describing that day and the names of the Duquesne victims, Brinks said. It also could include a clock with the time the tornado hit Duquesne.
Plans call for a quarter-mile oval trail running the length of the property from east to west, with a shelter and memorial on the western end, and a splash pad and restrooms closer to the parking lot to the east and a playground area on the eastern end of the trail.
“The park itself will be very long and narrow from east to west,” Brinks said. “A gravel parking area will be built on a lot just east of City Hall on East 15th Place. There’s a sign marking the location of the new city park.”
Brinks said the city is applying for other grant money to purchase and install playground equipment and picnic tables. Because that opportunity is for a matching grant, the city will accept donations from residents to help with the cost. People may contact City Hall at 417-781-5085 for information.
Construction of the park could start next fall.
Cassville also has received a DNR grant for a trail project. The $53,101 awarded to Cassville will be used to pave the loop section of the 2.9-mile Greenway Trail that extends from Rocky Edmonson Park on the north end of the city’s South Aquatic Park and Reenactment Field to the south.
During the spring and summer, when people are traveling to Roaring River State Park just outside town, Cassville swells in population from about 3,500 people to about 15,000 people, and hundreds of thousands of people pass through every day to get to the park and Mark Twain National Forest, said Steve Wallensky, city administrator.
“We took a public survey about four years ago, and the trail was clearly a high-priority desire of the users of our park,” Wallensky said. “The asphalt stops where the treeline is, and this will be enough to pave the loop. Our public works department will be doing all the prep work with their equipment, and that helps with offsetting the out-of-pocket labor costs.
“It’s going to be a real nice joint effort, and we’ll do some of the work ourselves, then contract out the asphalting itself. We’re excited and the public is excited.”
More details about the trail are available at cityofcassville.com.