Outdoor Recreation Area Project Receives Grant from Missouri Department of Economic Development

(Joplin, MO) – Soon Joplin residents and visitors will have a new outdoor recreation area to enjoy that offers biking activities for all ages and skill levels. Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced that the Dover Outdoor Recreation Area (DORA) will receive $1.437 million through the Local Tourism Asset Development Grant Program. Funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, Parson included 26 communities in this effort to bring recovery assistance to Missouri’s tourism, travel, and hospitality industries.

The City of Joplin submitted plans for park development of nearly 100 acres south of Zora Avenue and east of Lone Elm Road that will include bicycle-related amenities such as a BMX style pump track, a children’s bike playground, and five to seven miles of single-track mountain bike trail.

Patrick Tuttle, Joplin Visitors Bureau Director, and Paul Bloomberg, Joplin Parks and Recreation Director, were both very pleased to receive the news about the grant.

“We’re thrilled to bring this to Joplin. Citizens have asked for more biking opportunities in our community for themselves and their families because it’s a great outdoor activity,” said Tuttle. “The plan includes different types of biking trails for recreational rides as well as challenging paths.”

Bloomberg noted that this new area will also offer traditional park amenities. “There will be a bicycle theme playground, a shelter, and other features that will create a fun environment for people to enjoy.

“We want to thank our community partners who helped us achieve this grant through their letters of support and endorsement for this new recreational offering for residents and visitors to Joplin,” he said.

DORA was initially introduced to voters as a project within the Parks and Stormwater Sales Tax Renewal efforts in August 2021. The grant funding will offset some of the costs, and the City will provide a match of approximately $1.7 million.

This project also allows improvements to undeveloped land, restoring some of the landscape back to prairie while adding a parking lot, a shelter, and a restroom within the park. West Soccer Field Road will be improved as an entrance into DORA.

Funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), this program is focused on investing in communities that rely on tourism, travel and hospitality for continued economic growth. The City is one of 26 grants awarded by the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) through their Local Tourism Asset Development Program. The Local Tourism Asset Development Grant Program was launched in October 2022. The program awarded competitive grants to applicants, including destination marketing organizations (DMOs), convention and visitors bureaus, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, and chambers of commerce affected by the pandemic. Grant awards will fund a variety of projects, such as welcome and recreation centers, property renovations, museum expansions, park improvements, indoor and outdoor attraction development, and more.

In recent months, City leaders with the help of their consultant, Guidehouse, have established a prioritized list of projects that would qualify for ARPA grant applications.

“These injections of funds through the ARPA grant programs will provide opportunities for community improvements at little or no cost to our citizens,” said Nick Edwards, City Manager. “We are fortunate to have been selected for numerous grants these past few months and will continue to seek others as we can. It provides a stimulus that moves our community forward to better the quality of life for our citizens.”

Most recently the City received $3.5 million grant funding to establish several programs for the City’s Affordable Housing Preservation initiative to help improve our neighborhoods and clean up areas of neglect and disrepair. The City is providing the match to this grant which brings $7 million to Council’s goal of addressing declining neighborhoods and providing more affordable housing.

To learn more about DED’s ARPA-funded grant programs, click here.


Lynn Iliff Onstot, Public Information Officer
City of Joplin
417.624.0820, ext. 1204

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