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story.lead_photo.caption Danisha Hogue/News TribuneFamily members of former Eldon police chief Charlie Wilson gathered Saturday at the re-opening of Wilson Park.

Three generations of Charlie Wilson's family gathered Saturday afternoon at South Grand Avenue and 10th Street in Eldon.

The park, dedicated to former fire chief Wilson for his many years of service to the Eldon Fire Department, held a grand re-opening event after $26,600 of renovations were used to upgrade the facility.

Parks and Recreation Director Michael Brandt said the location had been ignored for years. The city applied for a Miller County Health and Wellness grant through the Miller County Health Center in 2018 and received $20,000 for the park.

"We're very excited that the city of Eldon is committed to improving their parks," Administrator Mike Herbert said. "Increasing physical activity opportunities for youth and everyone is important to the mission of the Miller County Health Center."

More than 70 guests attended the rededication. Youth played on the new jungle-gym equipment, an updated outlined fire truck and swing set. The pavilion received new tables and a grill, and the basketball court was updated.

Wilson, who died in 2000, was chief for 20 years and with the department for more than 40. His daughter, Dawn Wilson, remembers helping with the Women's Auxiliary growing up. He was instrumental in getting equipment for the department, including a ladder fire truck, which is still in use.

Granddaughter Jennifer Russell and family traveled from Kansas to attend the event. Remaining close to family and recognizing public safety officials is important, she said.

"Public safety is such an important aspect of each community," Russell said. "A lot of times, it's taken for granted."

Fire department officials who attended the event said they appreciate the improvements to the park.

Miller County Health Center awarded five grants for Eldon for 2019.

The Community Food Pantry received $10,000 to increase access to fruits, vegetables and protein. United Methodist Church received $3,000 to provide items to new mothers.

Eldon School District received $45,050 for three projects including buddy packs, mental health curriculum and a heart adventure obstacle course.

The organization distributed $229,097 worth of grants for the year. Other recipients included Iberia, St. Elizabeth, Mary's Home, Tuscumbia and two county-wide groups.

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