DUQUESNE, Mo. — For over a year, the city of Duquesne has been developing plans to build a park on the land right next to Duquesne City Hall. Now, the plans are beginning to come to fruition.

The idea for a park came from the desire to maintain and strengthen the community’s bond after the May 22, 2011, tornado that struck Duquesne and Joplin.

“There was just such an outpouring of neighbor support for everybody. It was just such a good feeling to know that people cared about other people to help them out… Our city doesn’t really have anything for the community to get together, so a park is a fantastic place to foster that feeling and keep it going for our city,” said member of the Park Committee, Barbara Welch.

Welch began campaigning for a park in 2016. The support from Welch and other residents established Duquesne’s Park Committee in June, 2019, creating the City Park project.

The residents of Duquesne have been involved in planning the City Park project and encouraged to come to meetings held at City Hall to discuss it. Previously, the only thing missing was funding. Soon, the city will have most of its needs met for the park.

Last year, the city received a $96,886 grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to fund phase one of the City Park project. The grant, which the city is paying a 20% share of, is waiting on approvals and will be used this year to begin the project.

This February, a second grant is being applied for to fund phase two. The grant is for a total of $214,049, which the city has approved a 50% share. If received, the funding is expected to be used in 2022 to further the park.

Phase one of the project will include initial development, like leveling of the property, and installation of an eight foot sidewalk that will be approximately a quarter mile. Phase two will include a pavilion and play area with equipment, according to the city of Duquesne’s website.

The whole process is going to be a two to three year project. The construction for the playground and pavilion won’t be accepting bids until later in 2021.

“If we get all of the permits and everything finished, we will begin to send out bids to grade and put in the sidewalk and infrastructure. We’re hoping that that’ll happen this late summer or fall… It’ll be about this time next year before the playground and the pavilion,” said member of the Park Committee, Rick Gamboa.

To honor those who died in the 2011 tornado, the park will feature a memorial rose garden, a commemorative bell tower with a clock stopped at the time that the tornado hit Duquesne, and a plaque with the names of those who lost their lives.

If you would like to contribute to the park, the city has a wish list. The list includes items like shrubbery, outdoor grills and water fountains. To donate, contact Duquesne City Hall at 417-781-5085 for a pledge form.

Plans for the project are posted at Duquesne City Hall for viewing.

To stay up to date, visit the city of Duquesne’s Facebook page.