Spring has finally arrived and with it comes the urge to get moving again after months of darkness, cold, snow and hibernation. For Muskingum County residents and visitors, the opening of a long-awaited aquatic and recreation center will provide health as well as economic benefits to the community.
I recently toured the newly opened 70,000 sq. ft. Muskingum Recreation Center (MRC) with Executive Director Beth Chapman and was astonished by the size and capacity of the facility.
Located on Ohio University’s Zanesville campus, the 70,000+ sq. ft. MRC hosts an impressive pool, workout facility, indoor track, exercise rooms, locker rooms with steam and sauna, and basketball courts. It blends programs offered at the Genesis Lifestyle & Fitness Center with those of the Muskingum Family Y.
In addition to the many recreational benefits, MRC will have a long-term positive impact on the local economy by creating jobs and attracting new visitors, businesses and industry. The new aquatic and recreation center will also keep dollars in the community that swimmers and swim teams were previously spending in neighboring counties where they were traveling to use similar amenities.
MRC is centrally located within a 20-minute drive for about 80 percent of residents. The doors opened to donor members the week of March 24th, with over 1,500 visitors, and opened to the public on March 31st.
Finance Fund provided $11 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) and $2.56 million in state NMTC as part of a public-private partnership to build the facility which generated 100 construction jobs, retained 40 current employees and employs 35 additional full-time staff. MRC is a nonprofit corporation, organized in June 2009, through a partnership of the Muskingum County Community Foundation (MCCF), the Muskingum Family Y (MFY), Genesis HealthCare System and Ohio University Zanesville (OUZ). Each of these organizations has a long history of service to Muskingum County and its residents.
They are off to a wonderful start. We wish them great success.