If somehow you missed the announcement, the Rush County Community Foundation (RCCF) received a $5 million grant in December from Lilly Endowment Inc.'s GIFT VII program to build a community center in Rush County.

A quick recap - the REC Center (Recreation Education Collaboration) will be a multi-purpose hub for the entire community. It will be built in phases, which will house common gathering spaces; the new, expanded library; the food pantry and other essential services; a YMCA facility to include daycare, a fitness center and indoor pool. It will make life easier for those needing a hand up, create amenities to keep and attract residents and improve the health and fitness of our community.

While groundbreaking on the REC Center isn't expected to take place until early next year, be assured that there's LOTS of work already taking place behind the scenes.

Here are the latest updates:

The City of Rushville purchased the former Walmart building and has donated it for this project. What a great way to infuse new life into this vacant space!
• The Rush County Economic & Community Development Corporation (ECDC) is the lead agency overseeing design and construction.
• A committee has been formed and is meeting weekly. It includes representatives from RCCF.
• Paperwork was filed with the IRS for the REC Center to become its own nonprofit organization.
• An architectural firm was hired - GBBN, which provided the conceptual design for the grant.
• The committee is currently reviewing proposals from contractors for mechanical, plumbing, engineering needs, etc. and a pool consultant.
Meetings are underway with organizations that will move into the REC Center to discuss their needs and vision. The Rushville Public Library shared their input recently. A meeting also took place with the Henry County YMCA last week.

Work on a proposal for New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) continues. The NMTC program helps communities like ours attract private investors by offering federal tax credits. This is a competitive application, and the committee has contracted with an expert in the field to assist in the process.

This is a massive project - an estimated cost of $21 million once finished. RCCF's executive director, Alisa Winters, recently completed a capital campaign class through the IU School of Philanthropy to develop a plan to raise $2.75 million. This isn't just an investment made FOR the community, it will also need to be made BY the community. We will need YOUR help to turn this dream into reality! And we know you're up to the challenge.