by Caitlin Huston
ROYAL CENTER —
The town may see new improvements in park space, renovated churches or even library systems, thanks to possible community grants.
At a meeting hosted by the Cass County Community Foundation, community members were asked to dream up projects in Royal Center that could be completed with a grant. The community foundation has given away $7 million since 1993, according to foundation president Deanna Crispen.
Though the CCCF office is based in Logansport, Crispen stressed to the crowd of about 60 that there were many opportunities in rural towns like Royal Center.
“Honestly, a lot of our donors are from out here in the county,” Crispen said.
The foundation applies for grants or gathers donations and awards them to nonprofit organizations in the county. Ed Schroeder, fire chief of the Royal Center Volunteer Fire Department, said his department, as one of the only nonprofit organizations in the town, can help funnel grant proposals or requests for money to the CCCF.
“We will be the conduit to make that happen,” Schroeder said.
In the past, grants from the CCCF have helped the fire department receive extrication equipment, park tables and transform a building into a storm shelter.
The community received $20 for each person that attended the meeting.
Asking for ideas for improvements from the audience members, Crispen heard proposals like a radar speed sign to be placed outside the school, batting cages for Little League groups and a capital campaign for the Royal Center Library.
“No idea is too big or too small,” Crispen said.
Tim Minnick, pastor at Zion United Methodist, said his Lucerne church, which was built in 1850, would like to find a way to attain historical status to find grants for some repairs in the church.
“Our facility is in dire need of a new roof,” Minnick said.
Crispen said her group could help put them in touch with the Indiana Landmarks group.
Angie Williams of Royal Center offered an idea from her mother, to put a green space in the lot left vacant by the destruction of Moser’s drug store at 108 Chicago St.
Williams said she wanted the space to work as a type of welcome to the town featuring benches or general landscaping. She said while others may not think much of the downtown, it’s important to the residents.
“If you live here there is a lot to it,” Williams said.
Other residents suggested changes to the Lion’s Club Park in Lucerne. Dirk Raderstorf suggested building a sidewalk or perimeter around the park so that older people could enjoy taking walks without struggling through the grass.
“Older people use the parks just as much as the younger people do,” Raderstorf said.
After the meeting Crispen said she expected several emails from residents as they thought up more ideas.
“Every small town has great ideas,” Crispen said.
Williams also said she believed the town had a lot of potential.
“Ours is a small community, but we make things happen,” Williams said.
Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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