CANTON, Mo. -- Efforts to revitalize Canton's downtown received a shot in the arm recently when the Canton Main Street Association received a $10,000 donation.
The gift came from a Canton resident who wanted to remain anonymous. It will serve as a challenge grant to help the association in its efforts to revitalize Canton's historic downtown, starting one block at a time.
"We are excited about the opportunity presented to CMSA by this very generous donor," said Clark Todd, association president. "We will be working very hard to meet the challenge by raising the match amount."
Todd said about a third of the funds to match the $10,000 donation have already been collected, and more donations are being sought from community residents and businesses. The goal is to raise the full $10,000 challenge amount by April so the planned improvements can be in place by summer.
Mary Fretwell, the association's vice president, said the revitalization effort will begin in the 100 block of North Fourth Street. Plans call for installing flower planters; ornamental trees; and a portable outdoor seating area with tables, chairs and umbrellas.
Fretwell said the goal is to make the downtown more attractive and inviting so it will draw more visitors who in turn will spend more time and money in the city.
"The hope is by getting this one block done -- and creating an improved and more special environment for people -- that it will encourage similar development of other blocks in the area," she said.
Fretwell said she is grateful the resident came forward with the initial $10,000 donation to get the ball rolling on the project.
"We are also excited that we have contributions that have already pushed us close to a third of the way to the goal of matching the $10,000," she said. "We're hoping that it creates momentum to finish the rest of the fundraising so we can move ahead very quickly with things."
The Canton Main Street Association was organized in 2013 as a vehicle for promoting and revitalizing the city's downtown business district. The association is affiliated with Missouri Main Street Connection and Main Street America.