Published: Jun. 29, 2023 at 5:52 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2023 at 6:23 PM CDT

ELMWOOD (25News Now) – Rural fitness dreams are coming true.

On Thursday, the Elmwood Community Foundation, Graham Medical Group, and the Greater Peoria YMCA announced their plans for 33-thousand square foot wellness facility.

This new facility offers local access to a swimming pool, workout equipment, sports courts, after-school programs, social activities for seniors, and the list goes on.

It will replace the cornfield to the left of Graham Medical Group Clinic and will have a door connecting the two buildings.

“It is a field of dreams,” says Tony Hart, the president of the Elmwood Community Foundation.

With the help of Congressman Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap) the foundation already has some money to fund the project.

“This is a great day for the community here,” LaHood says. “We were able to secure almost $4 million in federal dollars that are going to go to help create this wellness center in Elmwood, but it’s not just for Elmwood; it’s for all the communities around here.”

The $3.75 million is a good start, but Hart says the total project is going to cost $14 million.

“$12 million is for construction, $2 million is for an endowment to help with operating expenses after the facility is open…so we’re about a third of the way there,” Hart says.

Hart and LaHood think the facility will improve the lives of the rural community.

“Just having local access within 10 to 15 minutes is a huge deal,” Hart says. “People are much more likely to utilize a facility when it’s in that time frame.”

“To be able to not have to drive to Peoria or Galesburg to have your health care needs met to workout and use a first-class facility, I think will be tremendous for our farmers and rural America,” LaHood says.

The fundraising is still in the silent phase but expects to go public soon. Hart says he hopes to raise the money and break ground within the next nine to 12 months.

They hope to have the facility open in 2025.

Copyright 2023 WEEK. All rights reserved.

By Madison Porter