The City of Sedalia will be awarded $767,760 in federal grant money through the Missouri Department of Economic Development (MoDED).

An announcement concerning the grant was made at 1 p.m. Friday at the Municipal Building by Mayor Andrew Dawson, Mayor Pro Tem Tina Boggess and Second Ward Councilman Chris Marshall.

The City applied for the Community Development Revitalization Grant back in November, and was notified that Sedalia would be a recipient. The City, in turn, will match those funds for a total project amount of $1,5353,520.

The money will be used to construct 52 blocks of new, ADA-compliant sidewalks and ramps in Ward Two. But the work won't start until around September of 2024.
That did not reduce Mayor Pro Tem Tina Boggess' enthusiasm for the much-needed project. She was asked if the 18-month timeline to start digging concerns her.

“It doesn't, because we understand that with federal money, you have to follow the steps in order to make sure that it all comes through … just knowing that it's going to happen,” Boggess told KSIS, referencing the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds that will benefit Sedalia citizens.

Boggess initially found out about the grant possibility through Public Works Director Brenda Ardrey. Ardrey noted that signatures of about 200 registered voters would have to be obtained within two days in order to apply for the Community Development Revitalization Grant and beat the deadline.

Ardrey was the grant writer, but said the residents of the Second Ward, many of whom attended Friday's announcement, did the heavy lifting to make obtaining the grant possible.

“We had a sidewalk meeting (Community Development Director) John Simmons & I, about a year ago, and several of you were there. And you told stories about how bad the sidewalks were. Well, I took notes that night,” Ardrey recalled, adding that many residents were walking in the streets to get to Dollar General or Oola's Beauty Salon or Hubbard Park because the sidewalks were in such bad shape or non-existent.

“When you open our grant and read it, it is full of your stories because you participated in those meetings. So I didn't do the heavy lifting guys, you did. Because you fed me what I needed, to do that writing,” Ardey told the residents in the Council Chambers on Friday.

“This is the first grant, we're going to keep trying, we've got other parts of Sedalia that need sidewalks, and housing, improvements, and we can only do that when you help us write those documents,” she said.

“And Tina got those signatures, and everybody pulled together. I couldn't believe it. I said 'Tina, if we get 50,' and she said, 'not a problem, Brenda' and she brought me 100,” Ardrey recalled. “'But don't turn that in yet, there's more coming.,' and the next thing you know, we had 200.”

Second Ward Councilman Chris Marshall said “as your Councilman, I have always belived that safe and accessible sidewalks are essential for our community's health and well-being. This grant will allow us to make improvements to 52 blocks of sidewalks in the second Ward. This ensures that that our neighborhoods are connected and accessible to all.”

The area affected include Jefferson to Clay running north to south, and Mill to Park, running east to west.

The location has historical significance, as Boggess noted that this area was the original plat of Sedalia, which was founded in 1861.

State Rep. Brad Pollitt said he believes that the grant was the biggest received by Sedalia “in a long time when it comes to these types of projects.” Pollitt credited Boggess with securing the 200 signatures submitted as part of the grant. “That's exciting and a long time coming. Congratulations. This is one of the bigger groups we've had when we've had these kinds of announcements. So thank you for being here. This is an exciting time, you know. Here we are again, a lot of good things are going on in Sedalia,” he said.

Simmons, who assisted with the grant writing process along with Ardrey, said he attended a landlord meeting Thursday night, and he asked where the opportunities lie. “And the north neighborhood, untapped potential. We have great land up there, we have great community activism with you all representing that here today, “ Simmons said. “So keep doing that fine work. You got our attention, and we'll keep doing it."

Mayor Andrew Dawson conducted the press conference and had the following reaction to the grant announcement:

“1.5 million dollars to rehab and replace 52 blocks unwalkable sidewalks in the City of Sedalia. Great things happen when you elect the right people. Elected officials, city staff, and the community all working in concert together with the common goal of making Sedalia a great place to live. Walkable neighborhoods create community,” Mayor Dawson commented.

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