Patriot Place apartments could soon get a new park for veterans

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COLUMBIA - Veterans at the Patriot Place apartments could soon see some new accommodations to the outside areas of the apartments thanks to a possible grant.

The Columbia Housing Authority, Welcome Home and the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture are working together to build Patriot Park. The mid-Missouri organizations were selected by State Farm Insurance Companies as one of the 200 finalists for the Neighborhood Assist Grant Program.

If selected, Patriot Park will be awarded $25,000 to help build a better outdoor space for residents.

Herbert Hepler, an 8-month resident of Patriot Place, said a new park would help the veterans who live at the apartments get out more.

"Anything to make the garden area down there better than what it is now would be fantastic," Hepler said.

The grant would fund new walking paths, a fenced-in dog park, a greenhouse among other things.

"For the people here who do have dogs, to be able to walk their dogs down through there, to have a walking trail down through there, it would be an ideal situation and get people more involved," Hepler said.

Right now, there is no pathway for residents to access the existing vegetable gardens.

Timothy Rich, Executive Director of Welcome Home, said accommodations to the outside will be very therapeutic for the veterans.

"One of the things that's important when you're dealing with people in a homeless shelter is to be able to get them out of the shelter on occasion," Rich said. "So, having a space where they can go out, be at peace and contemplate things about their life and be active in gardening, whatever it is that they need to be able to get help get their life together, we think this will be a very important space for them."

Phil Steinhaus, CEO of Columbia Housing Authority, said Patriot Park already received a grant last year, but hope to add the additional amenities.

"The nicer the grounds are for the veterans, the better they feel, and the better respect they get," Steinhaus said.

Online voting, which will occur over the next ten days, will determine if the Patriot Park Project is selected for an award of $25,000. Voting closes on Nov. 4.

The top 40 applicants will receive a $25,000 grant.

Steinhaus said Patriot Place Apartments are currently in 13th place.

You can vote for the Patriot Place Apartments here.