Two local organizations received grants Tuesday as part of Webster Electric Cooperative’s Roundup program.
The recipients were Marshfield's Friends of Hidden Waters, Inc., and the Vivian Stuber Library in Niangua. The grants are presented quarterly and supported by the Webster Electric's Operation RoundUp Program, in which customers round their utility bill to the nearest dollars every month.
Chris Davis and Dan Beckner with Friends of Hidden Waters spoke about their latest project — three new site information signs for the Hidden Waters Nature Park in Marshfield.
"This past spring, we were verified as a segment of the Trail of Tears, which is quite an honor for us to be able to honor that subject," said Davis. "There were 10 detachments of Cherokees that came through in December 1938 and they reached Oklahoma in March 1939. They followed the water, and we are part of the water."
Davis explained the grant they asked for will be used to install three new site information signs. She said her friend is currently developing the art for the signs. In addition, Davis said Hidden Water Nature Park has plans for its Welcome Center and does other community events at the park, including its Hidden Waters Concerts at the Park, which are held the first Sunday of the month. Beckner said Mark Spangler, curator of the Route 66 Museum at the Lebanon-Laclede County Library, helped with the research that showed the Trail of Tears going right through Hidden Waters.
"Mark told us he was so jealous because it missed Lebanon by 15 miles," said Beckner. "But seriously, he is amazing. Mark knows his history and you could just listen to him for hours."
Betty Day, James Day and Barbara Bailey represented the Vivian Stuber Library. The library has been in Niangua for eight years, according to Betty Day, president of the Vivian Stuber Library board. She said they are going to use the grant to make repairs to their sidewalk outside of the library and other maintenance needs.
"Niangua is a low-income area," said Day. "The sidewalks need work, so we asked for a grant to replace the sidewalk in front of our building. Our furniture we are using has been given to us along the way, and the chair at the desk is a straightback chair and it has gotten to where it hurts my back, so we’re replacing some of the furniture there."
According to Jim Day, Vivian Stuber was a school teacher at Niangua, and they honored her by naming the library after her. He said her daughter, Judy Martin, is a member of the Vivian Stuber Library board.
"Judy Martin was one of the main people who got it started," said Day. "We joined in down the line and things kind of took off from there."
Barbara Bailey explained the library is an old bank building and at one time it had a vault. It has also been used for other purposes in the past.
"We do love our building because there’s so much history," said Bailey. "When it was a bank, it got robbed and they never found the robber. This happened years ago, but I thought that was pretty interesting."