Inmates, baseball players and gardeners work together
The back yard of the Katy Depot is being landscaped this week by inmates of the Boonville Correctional Center (BCC), members of the Central Methodist University Baseball Team and individuals of the Master Gardeners Club. The work is being done strictly by volunteers.
Progress is being made despite the hot temperatures this week. For the inmates, the work is part of the 19th Annual Boonslick Area Community Service Project (CSP). This project is sponsored by the National Organization of Prison Fellowship (PF) and is conducted under the leadership of the Nelson Memorial United Methodist Men.
Each year, the CSP selects a project that will serve the Boonslick community. This year’s CSP project aims to build a rest park and picnic area behind the Katy Station on First Street in Boonville. The intended purpose is to provide a rest-and-relaxation area where bikers off the Katy Trail can stop and rest. It is expected to be used by bikers from around the country.
Gary Nauman, Boonville Parks Director, said the city has also partnered with the Boonslick Master Gardeners. The gardeners will be planting native flowers and grasses in the beds.
"There may be limited plantings this fall, but the majority will go in next spring," Nauman said.
According to a release, the program is designed to encourage the men from the BCC as they approach their time of release, with emphasis on providing the tools necessary for their integration back into their own communities throughout the state. It also serves as an opportunity for the men to repay society for the crimes they have committed. The project, according to the release, is an active part of the ongoing Department of Corrections’ Restorative Justice Program.
During the week, volunteers from the church will provide a home-cooked breakfast for participants. This will be followed by an hour of devotions, presented by area pastors and lay persons. The men will then move to the work site. During lunch, they will be taken to local area churches in the community. This time will be used for fellowship and to encourage CSP participants to choose a church within their community and make attending that church part of their home plan when returning to their communities.
On Sunday the program will conclude with a dedication service where the participants will receive a certificate of appreciation for the work accomplished. This year’s "Challenge to the Class" will be given by Raycior Towns, from Kansas City . Raycior was a CSP member in 2003 and has been a model citizen since returning home from his time served in Boonville. Following the service, a special dinner will be served for the participants and their Nelson Memorial host families.
The release states the success of this program in past years can be attributed to the tremendous support from the community and staff at the BCC. In addition to supporting the project, many members of the NMUMC team have been able to stay in touch with the inmates following their release to encourage and support them.
Past CSP projects include erecting a new soccer support facility at Kemper Park . In 2011, the Katy Caboose was repainted and refurbished.