Recreation district preps for fundraising push

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The new Central Madison Joint Recreation District (JRD) has a mission statement, bylaws and officers. Now, the non-profit needs money.

At their next meeting on Feb. 12, members of the JRD will hear from Karen Race, director of development for Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Race will advise the JRD on ways to get a fundraising campaign off the ground.

“Everybody knows how to ask for money. Asking and receiving are a different story,” said Eric Imerman, JRD board chairman.

The Central Madison JRD, a non-profit government body, was originally formed to open and operate a local recreation center or YMCA. While that remains a primary goal, the JRD also aims to bring more parks, trails, nature preserves, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, and recreational programs for youths and adults to its service area.

That area includes the City of London, the London City School District, Deer Creek Township and Somerford Township, including Lake Choctaw.

To make these projects reality, the JRD needs funds. The new group is starting from scratch. Their initial goal is $1 million. In the short-term, the money would cover operating costs, most of which will involve getting the word out about the JRD’s mission.

In the long-term, part of the money raised would pay for architectural and engineering plans for a recreation center and acreage to put it on. Part of the money would be used to start a building fund and pay for parks and other recreational projects. The board also wants to start an endowment fund that would provide scholarships to individuals in the district who could not afford membership fees to the recreation center.

Before fundraising begins, Imerman said the JRD must build trust among the people and potential benefactors in the district’s service area. Other organizations have done it with great results.

“The community surrounding the London City School District came together to construct the sports facilities at the London High School with no taxpayer money,” Imerman wrote in a synopsis of the JRD’s goals. “More recently, the London community has pulled together to support the Armory Youth Center to provide a safe, caring and constructive environment for the after-school recreation needs of the local youth.

“The Central Madison Joint Recreation District would like to begin operation with the same community support and commit-ment that the community has shown in supporting the sports facilities at London City Schools and the Armory.”

The people charged with rallying that support make up the JRD board: Imer-man, chairman, and Nancy Smith, repre-senting London City Schools; Doug Deaver, vice chairman, and Kirsten Gross, treas-urer, representing Deercreek Township; Keith Smith, secretary, and Bryan Shoemaker, representing the City of London; Jim Moran and Ernie Sparks, representing Somerford Township; and Gary Bogenrife, a non-voting member, representing adjacent Union Township.

The Central Madison JRD board meets the second Tuesday of each month. The Feb. 12 meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the Madison County Emergency Manage-ment Agency Office, 271 Elm St., London. For details, contact Eric Imerman at 740-845-1321 or ebimerman@gmail.com.

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