Legends Rec-Plex 20-years in the making — All-America City 2023

The City of Fulton is one of 20 finalists for the 2023 All-America City Award recognizing communities that leverage civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation to successfully address local issues.

These communities will compete in June for the title of All-America City! Finalists will assemble teams of residents, nonprofits, businesses, government leaders, young people, etc. to present the story of their work to a jury of nationally recognized civic leaders. More info: nationalcivicleague.org/2023-finalists/

Want to support the effort? Visit fultonmo.org/aac

Fulton highlighted community efforts to welcome eight Afghan refugee families, construction of Legends Rec-Plex, and the Callaway County Chamber of Commerce’s Local Lemon program. Below is project one of the city’s application.

The City of Fulton’s interest in a recreation center dates back to at least 2000. In a strategic plan released that year, the Parks and Recreation Strategic Planning Committee cited the construction of an indoor recreation center and an indoor/outdoor pool. The plan considered the project a great improvement to the quality of life for residents and a potential attraction tool for new residents. Seven years later, the project was the number one response in a parks facility study with 479 or 58.8% of respondents supporting a recreation and community center.  

It came up again eight years later, in 2015, when another study of the community asking about facility projects saw an indoor recreation center at the top of the list. This time the study informed development of the Parks Facility and Programming Master Plan that laid out the next 10 years for park improvements. The first listed project was a community center that included a large multi-purpose area with spectator seating, classrooms/meeting rooms, locker/shower facilities, kitchen/concession area, fitness area, and office and storage space. 

The Parks Master Plan proposed a half-cent sales tax to focus on parks and recreation and stormwater projects. During the first five years, 60% of revenue could go to parks and recreation before reverting to an even 50%-50%. Over 15 years, the plan projected, about $5.6 million would go toward Parks and Recreation improvements.  

The following year, the Fulton community passed a half-cent sales tax for exactly that reason. When implemented, tax revenue was split evenly between parks and stormwater projects. That tax, intended to be the main funding source for this project, brought in $375,000 in 2016 and $493,105 in revenue in 2022. 

Planning for a recreation center started in 2017 through a request for qualifications from an architect to design the building. The city worked with several architects over the course of the project with the engineering division designing the site plan and the contractor designing the building. Part of the beginning stages of designing included conducting a study of the area, considering facilities in neighboring towns, and what needs Fulton had. While construction began in 2019, the bulk of it was done in 2020. Despite that, the project didn’t see many delays. 

The project cost about $8.89 million with $4 million coming from the 2020 budget and $5 million coming in the form of a 15-year lease-purchase loan with The Callaway Bank and Central Bank, with the interest rate locked at 3.1 percent for the first 10 years. After that, the interest is capped at 5 percent for the rest of the loan’s term. 

Legends Rec-Plex opened in June 2021 with a two-week free period for the community. The facility, a 45,000-square-foot multipurpose facility, features a variety of rooms and has the ability to host numerous activities and events. It includes a banquet hall the community can rent for special occasions, courses, and conferences. 

The gymnasium includes a regulation high school basketball court that splits into two smaller courts, and includes retractable volleyball nets and bleacher seating for more than 350 spectators. It serves as a back-up practice and game court for the area’s high school teams.  

Opposite the gym is an artificial turf fieldhouse that includes a perimeter net, as well as a baseball/softball batting cage. The netting allows for events such as baseball or softball practice to take place while allowing members to walk around the surrounding track. In between the gym and fieldhouse is an elevated mezzanine where visitors can sit down at tables and watch the action taking place on either side. There is also a two-lane track that stretches around the perimeter of the gym and fieldhouse. 

In between the gym and fieldhouse is also the cardio center on the top level with a variety of bikes and stair machines. On the lower level is the fitness center with a robust selection of free weights and weight machines. The cardio and fitness center are available for member access 24 hours a day. 

Another unique amenity at Legends is the padded activity room. It is used for youth wrestling and cheerleading practices, as well as fitness classes such as Zumba, yoga, and more. A smaller game room includes shuffleboard, foosball, and air hockey tables, along with an arcade game machine and TV screens that can be used for E-sports events. 

Also included in the building is a banquet room that features a tall ceiling, motorized projection screen, and seating for 200. This facility can be used for wedding receptions, banquets, meetings, and concerts. There is also a sizeable kitchen where meals can be prepared, along with a large serving window. 

The facility has proved to be a very popular and heavily used recreation amenity for the community. In 2022, the facility saw approximately 59,000 visitors pass through the door. In addition to facility rentals and daily usage, the Parks and Recreation Department offered many recreational programs for all ages, such as fitness classes, youth and adult sports programs, sports camps, and a variety of special events. 

Since Legends opened, staff members have worked to identify the different ways it can help the community. This year, they started an after-school program designed to provide after-school supervision for parents who needed it along with structured activities for the students. It is open to students from kindergarten through fifth grade with a variety of enrichment opportunities. The facility is also a popular hangout for middle schools to socialize and participate in physical activity. 

At its peak approximately 25 students come to Legends after school, providing them with a safe and secure environment, academic support, physical exercise, and socialization. The program cost $12 per day and $11 per day for siblings to cover the staff, which are CPR and first aid certified through the Fulton Fire Department. The facility has hosted everything from magic shows to youth tumbling, father-daughter dances to graduation parties. Overall, it has proven to be an asset to the community. There are ongoing efforts to provide more activities and special events for citizens of all ages and ability. 

Above is a section of the City of Fulton’s 2023 All-America City Award application. This application was submitted Feb. 21, 2023 and information contained in it was accurate at that time.

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