Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

April 8, 2014

Breaking ground in June

Sports complex plans unanimously approved

Tony Huffman
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — The Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center moved one step closer to fruition Tuesday as Effingham Plan Commission unanimously approved a site plan for the 60,000-square-foot building.

The center will be on a 22-acre property, located at 1301 N. Maple St., northwest of the Effingham Kluthe Memorial Pool.

The plan for the center includes a detention basin for excess water runoff, 210 regular parking spots and seven handicapped spots, and a landscape buffer to the south, which neighbors of the property requested.

Plans for the center include two basketball courts, three full-size volleyball courts and an aquatic center that will include two pools. One pool will be an eight-lane competitive pool, while the other will be a recreation/therapy pool. In other areas of the facility, there will be a gym with weights and treadmills, a studio for various aerobic classes and an elevated walking track on the second level.

Another feature is St. Anthony's Wellness Center, which will rent a space within the center to house its physical and occupational therapy services.

Organizers intend to break ground on the project in June, with the grand opening slated for either August or September 2015.

Fundraising for the project is nearing $2 million.

“Our official amount right now is $1.7 million, with a major donation to be announced soon,” said Joedy Hightower, president of the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation, which is administering donations for the project.

The $13.5 million project began with a $5 million donation from Dr. Richard and Angie Workman. The remaining cost will be paid for through debt certificates issued by Effingham Park District, which will oversee operation of the facility.

Tuesday the plan commission also approved rezoning property located at 804 W. Grove Ave., from  class R-2, single-family dwelling, to class R-3A, attached single-family dwelling.

Bushue Property Management representative Lori Bushue told commissioners the request is to construct an approximately 2,500-square-foot duplex on two lots, which would then be put up for sale as two separate residences.

Tony Huffman can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, at tony.huffman@effinghamdailynews.com or on Twitter @Ednthuffman.