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Report on Preston indoor pool and rec center completed

Fri, Dec 13th, 2002
Posted in Features

The Preston area has the philanthropic capacity to support a capital campaign to build an indoor aquatic and recreational center. That was the conclusion that consultants from Crescendo Consulting of Winona reached after conducting a community assessment study to determine whether it is feasible to fundraise to build a 30,000 square foot fitness facility. Estimated to cost $3 million, the center would be built adjacent to the Fillmore Central Middle School. The facility would be owned by the school district and leased back to the city of Preston. “There is strong leadership here and strong financial capacity,” Crescendo’s Laura Eddy told a meeting of the Recreation Center Steering Committee on Monday, December 9 at the F&M Community Bank building. Also present at the meeting were members of the Preston City Council, as well as members of a Pre-Study Committee which assisted Crescendo in its work.As part of their study, Crescendo interviewed 64 Preston area individuals to gauge public opinion and identify community leaders and sources of financial support.Many of those interviewed in the study talked about the positive impact a fitness facility would have on the area in terms of quality of life. One of the challenges Crescendo identified in the 34 page report had to do with maintaining and operating a fitness complex once it is built. According to Eddy, an indoor aquatic center costs six times more to operate than a similar sized outdoor pool. She also noted that research has shown that indoor aquatic centers in communities of less than 20,000 often need to be subsidized by city taxes. Crescendo advised the Steering Committee to consult with engineering and architectural firms on operating cost issues before making a decision to proceed with fundraising. The Preston area recreational facility would be modeled after one in Cresco that includes fitness center, gymnasium, running track and pool.According to Recreation Center Steering Committee Chair Steve Knoepke, the Cresco center has approximately 900 family memberships and an operating budget of $340,000 per year. A family membership costs $315 in Cresco per year which generates $283,500 in funds annually. The operating balance is made up in programming fees that range from swimming lessons to leasing the facility for special parties. The city of Preston presently subsidizes its outdoor city pool $30,000 annually.The Recreation Center Steering Committee is expected to submit the Crescendo report to the Preston City Council at its December 16 meeting.

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