The Richland County Foundation has recently made several grants to projects which fuel the creation and sustaining of strong local communities. Those grants include the following:

Blackfork Commons Amphitheater: The Black Fork Commons Park opened in Shelby in 2015 in an area susceptible to flooding. The City of Shelby acquired the property and the Shelby Park Board contracted a consultant to develop the park which has attracted regional attention as a best-practice solution to flooded areas. A Foundation grant allowed the Park Board to plan to build an amphitheater and restrooms.

Historic Tax Credits: The Foundation made a grant to the Historic Preservation Commission of Mansfield to list the Downtown Historic District on the National Historic Places Register.  It will allow property owners within the district access to federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits which are powerful incentives for reinvestment in historic, income producing properties.

Kingwood Center Gardens: Kingwood is expanding its services to better welcome people visiting the gardens. A Foundation grant will help Kingwood build a new visitor’s center. The building will provide an indoor area to welcome people, an exhibit gallery to highlight the legacy of Charles Kelly King, a multi-purpose room, gift shop, café and restrooms.

Mansfield Area Y:  Due to financial struggles, the only Mansfield City pool open for business last year was Liberty Pool. The Mansfield Area Y has created an alternative solution, a Splash Park. The Foundation awarded a grant to the Y to help fund the new project. The Splash Park will allow children of all ages and abilities to have fun while receiving some relief from the summer heat.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education: The Foundation will pay for half of the cost for a VEX Robotics Kit for Richland County School Districts. The middle and high school kits cost is $15,000. So far Shelby High School has invested in the program. The kit includes 12 robotics kits to accommodate a class of up to 30 students. The STEM program provides hands-on learning and exposure to engineering principles at a younger age to build a pipeline of students interested in vocational/trades programs. It will create a pathway for local students to articulate to Pioneer Career and Technology Center Robotics and Advanced Technology Education Collaborative (RAMTEC.)

#SXSW419: An innovative approach by the Foundation to come up with a plan to improve Mansfield’s Central Business District. Fifteen Mansfield area residents with various backgrounds and careers, traveled to the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, TX. The group brought back ideas to create a plan of action to revitalize Mansfield. The group is targeting the following sectors; walkability, food & entertainment, start-up & technology, social impact and the workplace.

Source: Richland County Foundation

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