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SPRINGFIELD, MO. — The Springfield-Greene County Park Board, in cooperation with the Community Partnership of the Ozarks (CPO), dedicate the new Roseann Bentley Musical Playground Tuesday, Nov. 21, 3 p.m. at Phelps Grove Park.
The playground is named in honor of Roseann Bentley for a lifetime of service to our community. It’s the first musical playground in the Park Board system, with eight colorful percussion instruments for kids of all ages and abilities to play.
Tuesday’s dedication includes remarks from local officials, refreshments, a ribbon cutting and an invitation for everyone to play the Tenor Tree, Titan Tines, Melody Metallophone and other instruments.
The CPO approached the Park Board in 2022 about building a playground in honor of Bentley, a founding member of the CPO Board of Directors who served more than 20 years. The CPO and Park Board selected a musical playground concept for Phelps Grove Park, which is near to where the Bentleys and extended family members have lived for decades.
“As a longtime champion for children and early childhood education, Roseann’s impact on Springfield-Greene County, the region, and our state has been immeasurable,” said Janet Dankert, President/CEO of Community Partnership of the Ozarks. “The CPO Board and staff as well as the Springfield-Greene County Park Board agree that this project is the perfect way to recognize and honor Roseann’s contributions for years to come.”
It took the CPO less than 12 months to raise funds to build the playground through generous donations from the community, including a significant contribution from five Rotary clubs in Springfield. Bentley has been a Rotarian for 31 years this month.
The playground equipment was manufactured by Freenotes Harmony Park and installed by Hambey Construction. Fundraising exceeded the $105,000 playground cost, providing for future maintenance and upkeep.
Who is Roseann Bentley?
Bentley, a former educator, Missouri state senator and Greene County Commissioner, spent more than five decades in public service advocating on behalf of families, children and education.
She started her career teaching kindergarten and first grade, before going on to serve on the Springfield Public Schools Board of Education, the State Board of Education, the National Association of State Boards of Education, and the Parents as Teachers Board of Directors.
Bentley was the first woman elected to the Missouri State Senate from southwest Missouri, serving Springfield’s District 30 1995-2003. She was the first woman to serve on the Senate Finance Committee and chaired the Children’s Services Commission. After the senate, Bentley served as Greene County Commissioner, District 2, for 12 years before retiring in 2016.
Bentley was a founding member of the Community Partnership of the Ozarks (CPO) Board of Directors, serving more than 20 years, including as Board President in 2009. She also served on the statewide Family and Community Trust (FACT) Board, representing the CPO for more than 10 years. Through these efforts, Bentley helped to shape the direction of twenty Community Partnerships across Missouri.
Bentley led a committee that brought Public Television to Springfield in the 1970s. She authored legislation that funded statewide implementation of Parents as Teachers in the 1980s. She helped establish the first United Way of the Ozarks Day of Caring in 1993. The first Day of Caring kick-off breakfast was held in Phelps Grove Park.
Bentley earned the Association of Junior Leagues International Mary Harriman Award in 1992, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce Springfieldian Award in 2003, Missouri Women’s Council Award of Distinction in 2006 and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks Humanitarian Award in 2012. The Springfield Public Schools Roseann Bentley Administrative Center is named in her honor.
Bentley and her late husband, Dr. John Bentley, raised four children, 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She continues to make her home not far from Phelps Grove Park.
For more information, contact Janet Dankert, President/CEO of Community Partnership of the Ozarks at 417-888-2020, or Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-224-5510 (mobile).