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DREAM Initiative Gives Opportunities to Missouri Cities for Downtown Revitalization

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/dreaminiti_1520.mp3

It's been one year since Governor Matt Blunt announced the creation of the Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri Initiative. This program, also known as the DREAM Initiative, gave 10 Missouri cities the opportunity to apply for state funding to help revitalize their downtown areas. KSMU's Joe Morgan spoke with administrators from two of these cities to find out what impact the DREAM Initiative has had.

After being a part of the DREAM Initiative for a year, neither West Plains nor Neosho has made huge changes to their downtown areas. Both say their cities have used the time to discuss and plan future renovations before moving ahead. West Plains Downtown Director Anita Parrott explains where West Plains is in regards to making changes.

Over in Neosho, Missouri, City Manager Jan Blase says committees have developed three approaches in using the DREAM Initiative funding.

City officials in West Plains are looking at similar goals. Parrott says that West Plains is looking forward to what the DREAM Initiative will do for the city in the future.

She says that one goal West Plains has is to turn its downtown into a place that's more attractive to tourists.

West Plains has not received any state funding through the DREAM Initiative. On Wednesday, Governor Blunt announced that Neosho is receiving a grant for $400,000 to help renovate some parts of downtown. Blase explains.

Blase says that Neosho plans to build a system of trails and walkways to connect important sites like the National Fish Hatchery and Hickory Creek Trout Stream.

Leaders in both cities say they are excited about the future renovations that will go on because of the DREAM Initiative. For KSMU news, I'm Joe Morgan.