Cass County Democrat Missourian

Community’s efforts boost funds for new walking trail at Cass Regional Medical Center

Members of the Live Wires Square Dance Club have a little fun for a good cause.
Members of the Live Wires Square Dance Club have a little fun for a good cause. Courtesy photo

The grounds of Cass Regional Medical Center will soon be home to a paved walking trail. The hospital has set aside 8 acres of its 80-acre campus for the trail.

The site will include two half-mile loops. Foundation Administrative Director Sonya McLelland explains the area will serve as a central greenspace near the hospital and provide a place for healthy activity.

“The goal is to keep the land as close to its natural state as possible for very low maintenance and to retain the natural beauty,” McLelland said.

The trail will be paved to make it accessible for those with walkers or wheelchairs. Estimated costs of the trail are about $585,000. The foundation has raised about $300,000 of the needed funds to date and hopes to be able to break ground in spring of 2020.

Fundraising efforts were helped recently by the Medical Center Foundation annual fundraising dinner. The Boots & Bar-B-Que event raised $50,000 for the project. The event included a square dance performance, “Big Iron Jail” and shooting gallery.

The Medical Center Foundation has a mission to raise charitable funds to enhance services at the hospital. Each year, the group’s fundraising dinner focuses efforts toward improvements to the medical center.

In the past, McLelland says the dinner has helped raise money for some of the more expensive equipment used in the hospital’s patient care simulation lab. Two years ago, the dinner raised $60,000 to purchase a trauma patient simulator for the hospital.

“Those pieces of equipment can be programmed to exhibit a number of symptoms. Staff uses it to learn new techniques, and nursing students from Cass Career Center use it quite a bit,” McLelland said.

The trail project fundraising effort was kicked off with a gift of $150,000 from the Franceline Parris Trust foundation.

Fundraising will continue throughout this year with a goal to have the trail ready for use in late summer of early fall of 2020.