The new Crawford County Recreation Center will be a reality at Lincoln Trail College. The Illinois Eastern Community Colleges Board of Trustees gave their approval for the project in May of 2018 and gave the green light to move forward on the project based on local fundraising at their May 2021 meeting. Now the facility can start moving forward in the pre-construction process.

"We're very excited about this project," says CCRC Board President Bill Sandiford. “The reason is because of the first two words in the name, Crawford County. This facility will allow all county residents the opportunity to share in a broad range of fitness activities 12 months of the year. The indoor walking track paired with the swimming pool will offer year-round exercise. The results from our earlier community interest survey pointed to our current lack of cold weather options as well as the need for a comprehensive facility that can, and will, be utilized by all of our residents.”

The recreation center will be built on the campus of Lincoln Trail College but operated independently from the college itself. It will offer a community atmosphere where people will be able to enjoy innovative fitness and recreation programs like yoga, spinning, dance, youth sports, adult sports leagues, Silver Sneakers, and healthy eating courses. It will also include a large space for free weights and strength equipment, a cycling studio, and cardio equipment such as bikes, treadmills, and rowers. There will be a child watch for members that they can use while they exercise or take classes. It can also be used for summer camps and before and after-school programming. The facility includes a multisport court for basketball, tennis, pickleball, and volleyball. Additionally, an indoor walking track will allow people to walk and jog year-round.

"This is going to be far more than a gym," says Sandiford. "We plan to offer recreational programming for members of all ages. We want this to be something that fits the needs of members from children to senior citizens."

In addition to the new facility, the CCRC will take over the operation of the indoor pool at the college. Bids are currently being solicited for renovations to the indoor pool which will include a water slide, an air-conditioned party room, two individual changing rooms with showers, and a large changing area for group classes. Renovations to the pool will take on more elements of an indoor water park, including a slide and a sauna. The pool will continue to offer popular programs like water aerobics and lap swims.

Sandiford believes that the CCRC will be good for all of Crawford County. “When we started thinking about this project, we wanted to do something that would enhance the quality of life for residents. We’ve also heard from businesses and industries that they’ve had trouble recruiting and retaining employees. We believe this facility will be a cornerstone for attraction and retention of both returning residents as well as a key piece in attracting new residents.”

The new facility will be built just east of where LTC’s indoor pool is located and will connect to the pool. Illinois Eastern Community Colleges will oversee the construction of the project. IECC is currently in the pre-construction process for the facility.

Work on the new Crawford County Recreation Center is expected to begin this fall and will take approximately 12-14 months to complete.