When it comes to getting involved in her community, Lake Tapawingo resident Tomi Bellinghausen has her hands in many baskets.
She’s served on the Lake Tapawingo Women’s Club board since 1998 and has been the president for the last 10 years. Bellinghausen also been involved with many community projects through the Women’s Club, Sportsmen’s Club and City and Country Club.
She is also involved with the Blue Springs High School Boys and Girls Swimming and Diving Team Booster Club, is an election judge and a Jackson County Democartic Committee member. Lastly, she’s a member of the Lake Tapawingo Strategic Planning Committee.
That’s a lot, but she was influenced by her family to be involved.
“Sometimes, I feel like I need to say no,” Bellinghausen said. “I need to say no to something. When I was growing up, circumstances made it where my parents moved in with my grandparents and we had four generations in our household.”
“One of the things that imprinted on me was that my grandpa was the head of the Kansas City Escalator Union. That’s how he reached out and did stuff. My grandmother ran for public office and was on the water board. My mother was an educator and a school counselor and she got involved with a lot of education opportunities. All around me were people giving to their community.”
Because of her efforts to help improve the city of Lake Tapawingo, mayor Tom Goddard named her as the city’s Citizen of the Year, an honor given by the Truman Heartland Community Foundation at a gala later this month.
“I was excited and it was unexpected,” said Bellinghausen, who is an office manager at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church. “The call from the mayor was quite a joy.”
She most heavily involved in the Women’s Club, a non-profit that gives out a pair of scholarships every year. Bellinghausen also helped organize an event called the Block Wars. Lake Tapawingo is divided into five blocks, and the Women’s Club encourages each to organize teams for community events such as two-hand touch football, kayak races and paddleboard Simon Says. The club also has an annual Thanksgiving luncheon for all of the seniors in the community and has helped install a city playground.
“We always try to mix in community involvement activities,” Bellinghausen said. “We want to get everyone together. We want to make the area around the lake friendly and make it a good place to live for families. We give each new resident a welcome basket and a newsletter from 30 years ago.”
Next month, Bellinghausen said the club will hold a 5-kilometer run for Halloween and will encourage patrons to wear costumes while competing.
“We’ve never done something like this, so we’ll see how it goes,” Bellinghausen said.
A future project Bellinghausen plans on being involved in is deciding what to do with a silt pond. Lake Tapawingo had to dredge the lake last summer to keep the water level from lowering. All the silt was pumped and placed the silt in an open area in the city.
“We have to wait for the soil to compact enough to do something with it,” Bellinghausen said. “There’s people with all kinds of ideas with what we’re going to do with this area.”
“Some people have suggested having a dog park there, or using it for walking and biking trails. There’s also been an idea of putting storage units there. I would like to see a community garden there. The soil should be pretty good at that point.”