Joint Recreation District approves business plan

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There’s an organization in London that’s quietly working to give the public a place to play.

It’s the Central Madison Joint Recre-ation District (CMJRD),  and its primary purpose is to bring a recreation center to the London area.

The dream is to have a facility with an indoor pool, track, basketball court, soccer field, and/or batting cages. Possible methods for funding the recreation center are residential, commercial, or industrial property taxes, an income tax, private donations of land and money, or allowing a third party to build and operate the center for profit.   

Though a recreation center is the big goal, CMJRD has short-term goals, too. At a Dec. 9 meeting, board members approved a business plan that mentions the possi-bility of building parks, sports facilities, walking and biking trails, and nature preserves. Board members Doug Deaver, Keith Smith, Nancy Smith, Eric Imerman and Jim Price all voted in favor of the new plan and, in doing so, made their purpose official.

“Now we have something to sell,” Imer-man said.

The business plan sets a two-year deadline for short-term goals and a five-year deadline for medium-term goals, which include a recreation center. The plan does not make definite long-term plans, since the organization is still in its infancy.

The first item on the short-term list is to bring together representatives from the four government bodies in the recreation district—London City Schools, the City of London, Somerford Township and Deercreek Township. With the help of an outside hired planner, the CMJRD board wants to work with the government officials to create a “Recreation and Parks Master Plan.”

The purpose of the master plan would be to make the management of recreation facilities more efficient, in part by elimi-nating redundant services offered by more than one government or organization in the same area. CMJRD members estimate that the cost for this planning would be $60,000 with $12,000 coming from each of the four government bodies and from CMJRD. CMJRD’s portion of the money would be raised, as much as possible, from local donations and grants.

Also in the short-term, CMJRD may hold a 5K run, 10K run or triathlon to raise money and awareness for the recreation district. Price said he will talk with Lake Choctaw representatives about the possibility of holding a triathlon at the London-area lake.

Not mentioned in the business plan, but still being discussed, is the possibility of CMJRD acquiring Stanley Park. Located off of Keny Road near the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, the park falls under the jurisdiction of the London Foundation. According to Nancy Smith, both CMJRD and the foundation are interested in transferring the management of the park, and the foundation itself, to CMJRD.

For more information about the Central Madison Joint Recreation District, visit http://cmjrd.org. The CMJRD board meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the Emergency Management Service Office, 271 Elm St. in London. Public input and participation is welcome at all meetings.

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