• $30K blessing

Blessings for Little Blessing - Shawanna Hanson, owner and operator of Seymour's Little Blessings Daycare, stands in front of the site where her new tile playground currently is being constructed, courtesy of a recent $30,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

For years, Shawanna Hanson has wanted a new surface for her playground area at her Little Blessings Daycare, located at 1264 East Clinton Avenue at Seymour’s east edge.

“Every year, we had to put in new mulch,” she explained.

“And it was expensive. The cheapest (we paid for mulch) was $800 one year ... it’s usually much higher.”

Above that, the mulch was messy.

“It holds water,” Hanson said. “Often there is standing water on the playground as it takes so long for (the mulch) to dry. It ruins my kids’ clothes. It’s just a mess.”

Then she heard about a grant opportunity.

She applied for it this spring.

And in July, Hanson learned her business had been approved for a 2019 Playground Scrap Tire Material Grant, given by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The grant amount was $30,000.

Her response?

“I just started crying and praised God,” Hanson said with a smile. “You know, I’m just a little fish in a big pond to the DNR. But I prayed about it. A lot. I knew I was a long shot to get the grant as small as I am.

“But the prayer was answered.”

In the interim, Hanson has been working to implement work funded by the DNR grant. She had to get three bids for the site work just east of her building.

Last Friday, crews from Jack Frantz Concrete of Seymour began digging out the site. The concrete was poured this past Monday morning by Frantz and his local crew.

After that, tiles will be laid on top of the concrete.

“I was out of pocket on the concrete pad,” Hanson said.

“It wasn’t cheap, but I had to do it ... how can you not when you’re receiving such a generous grant?”

The new playground site will measure 36 feet by 64 feet and will be handicapped accessible.

Hanson said the project wouldn’t have been possible without the help of so many, including the city of Seymour via Toby Sanders, an employee from the sewer department.

“Toby came and offered to help with the layout and the design, and he also had worked in the past with Mr. Frantz, so he helped so much in lining things up on that end,” she explained Friday morning. “He’s here now, again giving me a helping hand.”

About three weeks from now, Hanson said the new playground pad will be ready to use.

For Hanson, who started Little Blessings Daycare in June 2015 with just four kids under her care, the past four years as a Seymour business owner have been nothing short of miraculous.

“We’re now licensed for 48 kids and only have a few openings,” she said. “It still amazes me daily how we’ve grown, how blessed we’ve been ... now to receive this grant, it all just makes me realize how God has blessed my family and I in so many ways.”

Once the new pad is ready for use, Hanson said she plans to hold an open house for all of her children and their parents with a barbecue and games.

“It will be food, fun and games,” she said, smiling.

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