Quitman Awarded Grant for Harris Park Improvements

The City of Quitman was recently notified it has received a matching grant in the amount of $100,000 for various improvements at Harris Park, located across from Small World Day Care Center.

The announcement was made in a letter to Quitman Mayor Eddie Fulton from Terry McDill, Land and Water Conservation Grant Administrator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

McDill stated the total project agreement is $100,000. The LWCF grant is a 50/50 match. He noted the approved amount of reimbursable grant funds for the project is $50,000. The application for funding assistance was submitted to the Outdoor Recreation Grant Division and approved by the National Park Service.

McDill was complimentary of the Woman’s Club and the Supervisor Mickey Long’s effort to improve the park’s facilities.

“Your application demonstrated local commitment and addressed the community’s need for outdoor recreational development,” McDill stated. “I commend you for this initiative and for helping to improve the quality of life in your community.”

Specifically, the grant funds will be used to remove outdated playground equipment and install new playground equipment, benches and/or picnic tables.

Announcement of the grant was especially great news to members of the Quitman Women’s Club, which includes upkeep of Harris Park as one of its community projects.

“The Quitman Woman's Club is excited about our community receiving the grant from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks that allows the much-needed improvements to Harris Park.  Collaboration between the City, County, and the Quitman Woman's Club exemplifies our goal of working together for the benefit of our community and promoting conservation initiatives.  We are proud to have provided proportioned funding and our sponsorship in securing this grant,” stated Becky Watkins. “Organized and Federated in 1926, the Quitman Woman's Club is dedicated to community improvement through volunteer service and offers our personal appreciation to Supervisor Mickey Long for standing with us over the past four years in order to obtain grant funding.”

The Harris Park improvement project was first led by then QWC president Mrs. Helen Ann Beeman and later by Mrs. Marsha Roberts, and was supported by the Clarke County Board of Supervisors.

District Five Supervisor Mickey Long and current QWC President Becky Watkins continued efforts to seek funding for park renovations by again pursuing grant money opportunities in October 2016.

Mayor Fulton noted Long’s efforts to secure the grant and expressed appreciation for the persistence of the Woman’s Club President Becky Watkins and Supervisor Long in securing this grant.

“Quitman is fortunate to have such dedicated citizens and elected officials making our city a wonderful place to raise a family. Without Mickey Long and Becky Watkins, this would not have happened,” said Mayor Eddie Fulton.

“In February 2019, I learned from a contact in Washington, D. C., that there would be money coming down the pipeline for park renovations through the U.S. Department of Interior,” Watkins said. “Working with the Board of Supervisors’ Mickey Long, we put together all the data, the Board submitted the information, and we learned the application would have to be submitted by the City of Quitman since the property was deeded to the City with the Quitman Woman’s Club listed as sponsor. The grant was submitted in April and funding was approved in June.” 

Watkins said the Quitman’s Woman’s Club and Supervisor Mickey Long are committed to funding the grant and will aid in its development with Volunteer Labor as well as that from the city for the park project.

“We (QWC) have provided the City with our first check and Mickey has provided the City with the share from county funds approved by the Clarke County Board of Supervisors. Watkins said all the funds for the matching grant will come from the Clarke County Board of Supervisors and the Quitman Woman’s Club.

An announcement will be made later when Harris Park improvements are under way.