Canton Awarded Nearly One Million Dollars in Grant Money

April 19, 2023

The City of Canton will receive support of nearly $1 million under the Local Tourism Asset Development Grant program by the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED). The program, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is focused on supporting projects that further the recovery of the tourism, travel, and hospitality industries. Canton’s award is one of 26 projects across the state of Missouri utilizing $30 million in total funds.

The Local Tourism Asset Development 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.

The Canton award is for the construction of the Mississippi Rec Center, a $2.5 million facility whose planned location is the site of the former MFA facility at 106 Lewis Street in Canton. It will feature a 150-feet by 250 feet building, standing 24 feet tall, which will house three basketball courts, baseball and softball training facilities, a walking track, and other fitness equipment. The Mississippi Rec Center will serve as a venue for youth sporting events including elite travel basketball tournaments, baseball and softball training events, youth wrestling and volleyball tournaments, pickleball, and a variety of other competitions making it a year-round tourist attraction.

The facility is expected to directly create 10 new jobs with a multitude of part-time opportunities for officials, referees, scorekeepers, and other game related positions. It is also expected to increase other employment opportunities in lodging, food service, and other tourism related businesses. The use of the facility is expected to generate increased state and local sales tax revenues while the assessed valuation of the facility will benefit the school, county and city through increased property tax revenues.

The Mississippi Rec Center application was supported by Congressman Sam Graves; Lewis County Commissioners Wayne Murphy Jr., Travis Fleer, and Deanne Whiston; Representative Greg Sharpe; Senator Cindy O’Laughlin; Lewis County Industrial Development Authority: and Culver-Stockton College along with numerous other organizations. The project total is roughly $2.5 million with the grant award of nearly $1 million. The balance of the project will be privately funded.