Organization abandons plans for $180,000 outdoor fitness court in Normal

From the Town of Normal and the National Fitness Campaign
From the Town of Normal and the National Fitness Campaign(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: Feb. 5, 2022 at 1:57 AM CST
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NORMAL, (25 NEWS) - Normal won’t be getting a $180,000 outdoor fitness court after some misinformation influenced a town council member who initially voted for the project.

The National Fitness Campaign (NFC) said in a letter to the town government that there’s not a consensus from local officials to participate in NFC’s Healthy Cities Partnership Program, so the group is taking back its offer of providing a $25,000 grant to help pay for the fitness court.

Town Council member Scott Preston voted with the majority January 4 to move ahead with fundraising plans, citing statements from town staffers indicating the NFC is a non-profit organization. It’s actually a for-profit business, and Preston indicated two weeks later he wanted the council to vote again to possibly reverse its decision.

Council members Kathleen Lorenz and Stan Nord opposed the project, while Mayor Chris Koos and council members Chemberly Cummings and Kevin McCarthy joined Preston in initially voting for it. Council member Karyn Smith did not attend that meeting.

In its letter to the town, the NFC said the “local narrative” makes it more difficult to raise money that would reduce the cost for taxpayers.

Town leaders said in a prepared statement that the town “believes in investing in quality of life enhancements in our community. However, the time is not right for this project given the current environment.”

“Similar partnerships on efforts such as this may be sought in the future,” the statement also said.

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