Grants support small-town parks

Two small-town parks are getting a boost thanks to grant funding from the Community Foundation of Jackson County.

In Miles (pop. 388), the sole city park often sits empty because of the condition of the playground. Residents are excited to update the equipment and watch the park come alive with children and families making memories and enjoying the outdoors. 

“The grant we received from the Foundation was the first for our project, and it really acted as a stepping stone to launch the project forward,” says Corinn Shannon, one of the local leaders of the park revival. “We were able to attract more attention from the community, which resulted in more support at our events and through donations.”

Successful events this summer included cookouts at Jesse’s Mini Mart; a movie in the park with games, face painting, and food; and a food stand at Thresher Days. 

“We’ve seen great action through donations and support at our events,” says Shannon. “Thanks to this widespread support, our park will once again be a place for the community to gather.”

West of Miles on Highway 64 in Preston (pop. 1,013), leaders are wrapping up a series of park improvements with one final project at Peppermint Park. Safety was a concern with the aging playground equipment. New equipment and a refreshed layout will enhance the experience for park visitors.

“The funds from the Community Foundation have been leveraged for more success in grant writing and fundraising, as we can announce the Foundation support to the public or the next granting organization,” says local leader Caroline Bredekamp. “All funding and in-kind contributions are vital to the success of the project.”

The project was well-received when it began, shortly before the pandemic. Fundraising slowed but has recently regained momentum. A recent food stand fundraiser (pictured) and visible progress have helped revitalize the effort, and more changes will soon be underway. 

“The Community Foundation of Jackson County advisory board loves to see leaders in our smallest communities making such a big impact,” says Lori Loch, the Foundation’s executive director. “Investing in our parks, our children and families is one way we support the success of these communities.”

The Foundation offers many opportunities to improve quality of life by addressing an array of local issues. To learn more about how you can establish a fund or make a gift that impacts your community, contact Lori Loch at 563-588-2700 or email