Artist Marian Glaser works on a mural of the late U.S. Rep. John Robert Lewis and Martin Luther King, Jr. last year at MLK Park in Bay St. Louis. Beautification efforts at the park are about to enter a new phase -- including a new splash pad -- thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Lowe's Home Grown program.

Long-awaited improvements to Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Bay St. Louis are about to get started in earnest, thanks to the Friends of the MLK Park Committee and a $50,000 grant from the Lowe’s Foundation.

Lonnie Falgout, executive director of the Alice Moseley Folk Art Museum and a former BSL councilman — informed the Bay council of the grant at its regularly-scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

“We have been given an unconditional $50,000 cash grant from the Lowe’s Home Grown program,” Falgout said Tuesday before the council meeting. “There were over 2,500 applicants who applied for this. We’re quite proud of the Friends of Martin Luther King Park Committee.”

Falgout said the park committee was formed a year ago, “and we’ve been on a mission to renovate that park ever since,” he said.

The committee works to solicit grants, such as the Lowe’s Home Grown funding, plus seeks other funding sources, including private donations and in-kind contributions.

“We’re going to install a splash pad, beautify the park, put an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)-approved sidewalk in, do a memorial wall to honor people who have contributed to the park over the years, as well as several other things, including fencing, lighting and security,” he said. “We also want to do pavilions, structures and other beautification efforts.”

Falgout said the MLK Park Committee has partnered with the Points of Light Foundation and the Hands Down Foundation of New Orleans for “necessary improvements and additions.”

“On completion of this, we will donate the completely finished product to the city of Bay St. Louis, which is the actual property owner," Fallout said. “We’re proud to say this is money up-front — the city doesn’t have to match it.”

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