Centralia Foundation, Charitable Foundation, Foundation Park, Carillon, Centralia Illinois Recreation Complex

Centralia Recreation Complex

As the Centralia Foundation celebrated its golden anniversary in 1993, many might have thought the dream had ended. But the residents of Centralia had only seen the beginning.

Many residents and community leaders realized the city had fallen behind in recreational opportunities, at least in the number and quality of facilities. With overcrowded facilities and a void in many instances to offer opportunities for some of the most favorite health and educational sporting events, the Foundation felt a calling had been sent its way.

With little fanfare and operating on a leap of faith the first organizational meetings were developed to explore the possibility of building a recreation complex. For many this represented the opportunity to retire an existing center which withstood the ravages of time and countless young athletes sine 1921, when it was known as Turner Hall and was the high school gymnasium.

As 1992 concluded it was estimated the old facility had entertained over 50,000 in non sports related activities. In addition as the program moved into 1993 over 1300 children had enrolled in the Summer recreational program. This represented an increase of 450 youngsters since 1985. As 1992 concluded more than 3200 youths had participated in programs at the facility and more than 1100 adults had been added to the roll, and substantial growth was anticipated in the future in a new complex.

The Centralia Foundation had never undertaken a project of this magnitude and immediately believed the involvement of the community was absolutely necessary to handle such an endeavor. Through the creation of joint planning committees chaired by D. Bruce Geary and by hiring a professional fundraiser, the group was able to develop a plan for location and construction of the new Recreation Complex.

The seventy thousand square foot facility was planned originally in three phases consisting of 50,000 square feet of new space, and the Recreational Conference Center of 9,000 square feet. The final construction cost was estimated to be in excess of $6 million dollars. Two of the three phases are completed.

The project took a giant step closer to reality with pledges of $1 million each from Don and Penny Geary and an anonymous donor. An additional pledge of $1 million from Ralph Sprehe made possible construction of the pool complex. Without these three major gifts the Recreation Complex would not have been possible.

Through the foresight and generosity of Centralia Businessman, John Parish, The Foundation had available a perpetual endowment fund to provide a source of income to defray operation expenses. With the three major contributions and the endowment fund in place, the Foundation announced a major drive to raise the funds necessary to complete funding of the project. The response of the citizens and businesses of Centralia was overwhelmingly positive and generous.

Finally in October of 1995 the Centralia Foundation along with the City of Centralia officially opened the doors to one of Illinois' most magnificent recreation complexes. This dream could only happen because the people of our community care enough to return time, effort and treasure to their community.

For more information on the Centralia Recreation Complex, please visit the Centralia Recreation Complex web site.

Centralia Foundation
115 East Second Street
Centralia, IL 62801
(618) 532-7424