Howardville Community Partnership, Missouri

Missouri map showing the Missouri Bootheel area

Missouri map showing the Missouri Bootheel area

Partnership: Howardville serves as a model for Bootheel communities by promoting new medical clinics, improving water quality, securing funding, and planning for redevelopment.


  • To honor Howardville as a historic African American
  • To build “Bootheel” coalition to support safe land reuse to
    improve community health
  • To combat community health inequities: environmental
    pollution, blighted properties, unemployment, and lack of
    access to healthy foods and recreation
  • To plan for clinics, improved water quality, funding, and
Howardville High School (Lloyd DeGrane, 2019).

Howardville High School (Lloyd DeGrane, 2019).

Community and population:

  • Located in Bootheel of Missouri in New Madrid County
  • Primarily African American (92.4%)
  • Lower median income and higher poverty rate (over 30%) than New Madrid County as a whole
  • Loss of local employers (closing and downsizing businesses)
  • Decay of Howardville High school—loss of a cultural icon
An old sharecropper cottage in the Missouri Bootheel (Lloyd DeGrane, 2018).

Image of an old sharecropper cottage in the Missouri Bootheel (Lloyd DeGrane, 2018).

John Anderson on a clean-up job.

Local Howardville resident John Anderson, trained in lead safe renovation during cleanup of the Howardville School (Lloyd DeGrane, 2018).

graphic icon of a hand holding a plant
Environmental concerns
  • The Bootheel area is littered with petroleum brownfields, abandoned cotton gins, and boarded buildings
  • organic compounds), lead, and asbestos
graphic icon of a stethoscope
Health concerns

Some of the lowest county health rankings in the state; limited access to healthy food and medical care

  • Small grocery stores, but many Howardville and Bootheel residents drive to Sikeston (about 20 miles away) or other, more populated Bootheel towns to access a full range of fresh produce
  • Only full healthcare possibility for many Bootheel families: two local hospitals (which have lost hospital status but remain medical care centers), 25 miles north and south of Howardville
  • While there is a local health department that provides some basic healthcare in New Madrid, there is no specialty care locally; patients transferred to Memphis (2 hours), Cape Girardeau (about 1 hour), or St. Louis (2.5 hours)

BROWN assistance and collaboration

  • Technical assistance to supplement EPA Cleanup Grant to remediate lead and asbestos exposure for 400 residents and workers (including Head Start children). Clean-up jobs for two residents
  • National recognition: 2 feature stories; write-up in Bloomberg magazine.
  • Connection to resources for historic preservation—registration for state and federal historic preservation in 2017/2018; $10,400 raised by school restoration committee (2010-2019)
  • Assistance with cleanup of abandoned petroleum tanks: lists and maps of locations throughout Bootheel; connection to a state program for assistance with inventory and site assessment
  • 2017 community meeting using ATSDR Land Reuse (Healthfield) Toolkit to encourage participation in community revitalization
  • $95,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leaders Program Funding awarded over 3 years for Healthfields redevelopment
  • Howardville School and Senior Housing Redevelopment concept plan
  • Training for 15 community leaders and partners to pursue up to $500,000 in EPA Coalition Assessment funds for New Madrid, Pemiscot, and Dunklin Counties
  • Attendance by 3 community leaders at July 2018 EPA Community Involvement Training in Kansas City, MO.

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. (2018). Missouri. Retrieved from:

United States Census. (2010). Howardville City, Missouri. Retrieved from:

United States Census. (2017). New Madrid County, Missouri. Retrieved from:

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Page last reviewed: April 22, 2021