Club uses bingo to help improve Columbia Parks

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COLUMBIA - Every Wednesday night, the Columbia Cosmopolitan Luncheon Club plays bingo, and every week, the city of Columbia wins because of the club member's giving hearts. 

Now, Frank G. Nifong Memorial Park is getting a major face lift thanks to the club's donation in addition to the park sales tax. 

The club will donate $125,000 to the improvement project. 

Ryan Atkinson, the planner of the project, said improvements were needed to meet the demands of the events held at the park. 

"The need for parking was the driving force in this. We needed to provide for the parking for the facilities that are out there. The Historical Society plus the parking for the big events like the Heritage Festival that happened last weekend."  

The Columbia Cosmopolitan Luncheon Club, however, had a different motivation for making the donation. 

"We build a park system here in Columbia because it gives the kids more opportunities to go out and do things, basketball, skateboarding, football and all the other outdoor sports. It helps fight off that deadly disease of diabetes,"  Cosmopolitan International President Elect John Hubert said. 

In 1977 The International Cosmopolitan Luncheon Club decided to focus on fighting diabetes. The club raised the money for the park improvements through pancake and sausage events and weekly bingo. Residents can start at $30 dollars on up to play. 

"If you come here and lose your money it comes back to your neighborhood," Hubert said. 

The improvements to Nifong Park began this year, and will include: 

  • Replacing the shelter 
  • Adding to the existing playground 
  • Building a new small shelter and fishing dock
  • Two new parking lots and expansion of existing lot
  • LED parking lot lighting 
  • ADA walkways 
  • New water fountain 
  • New park signs