A check for $200,000 from JBS’s “Hometown Strong Initiative” and Swift Prepared Foods will pay half of the cost of developing a park in one of Columbia’s poorest neighborhoods.
Whitegate park will be developed near Towne Drive and Whitegate, which is near Paris road and it’s also near Clark lane and I-70. Swift executives were in Columbia Monday evening to make the check presentation to the city council, which accepted the check and approved the park proposal. It will include a new playground, shelter, basketball court, handball court and lighting.
The voter-approved 2021 Columbia park sales tax is also providing funding for the 400-thousand dollar project.
Whitegate park will be near Columbia Insurance Group and the Reentry Opportunity Center. Construction is expected to begin this summer, with completion expected in the spring of 2025.
U.S. Rep. Mark Alford (R-Raymore), who represents northern Columbia and Boone County on Capitol Hill, has predicted that the new Swift Foods plant will help Columbia and will help feed families.