Donations collected to honor Columbia disability advocate

Apr 17, 2013

A fundraising group in Columbia is accepting donations to fund improvements at Stephens Lake Park in honor of a deceased local activist. Friends and relatives of Christy Welliver have started the Welliver memorial project with the goal of enhancing the park's main entrance.

Welliver was an advocate for people with disabilities until her death in 2011. The group’s spokesperson Chip Cooper said Welliver deserves such recognition, and Stephens Lake Park is an ideal place to praise her work.

"So many people come through there, it’s handicap accessible," Cooper said. "When they suggested that, we discussed it and everyone agreed that would be a great place.”

The city’s Parks Planner Matt Boehner said the city had plans to improve Stephens Lake Park for quite a while.

“Ever since the Stephens Lake Park was completed there has been some small improvements that we’ve had on the books that we’ve wanted to make, but we just haven’t had the initiative of funding to go forward with," Boehner said.

The fundraising group reported that it had raised more than 16-thousand dollars, exceeding its initial goal. Fundraising will continue through the end of this month.