At the time, the Kansas Department of Commerce (KDOC) was administering a Small Communities Improvement Program grant (SCIP). The SCIP grant program had an annual budget of $500,000 and a goal to aid communities under 5,000 in population, that met certain criterion, in making public improvements that would affect the quality of life in a community. The maximum award was $125,000 and at least 40-percent of the project cost had to be covered via sweat equity and volunteerism.
In February of 2010 the KDOC funded six of the top seven grant applications. It seems that the fifth ranked applicant had requested nearly as much in funding as the sixth and seventh ranked applications combined. So, they skipped over the fifth ranked application and funded the next two in line – which were Rossville’s PRIDE ($75,000), and St. Marys Friends ($54,835). When the Friends grant proceeds were combined with the local funds, the donated labor, materials, and equipment, it resulted in an estimated $181,195 upgrade to Riverside Park during the summer of 2010.
The Friend’s grant application contained various letters of support from local organizations and had 256 volunteers pledge to help with construction – although many more volunteers actually showed up to help, than had pledged to do so.