The Beginning, The Struggle and The Future
On February 12, 2000 the Ste. Genevieve County Community Center opened its doors and forever changed recreational opportunities for everyone in Ste. Genevieve. Now more than 18 years later one facility has transformed into a campus that is still growing.
In the early years the Community Center experienced struggles finding how to meet the needs of the community and getting everyone to buy into the concept of being the hub of all recreational activities. However, over the years the Community Center has been able to evolve and incorporate more and more programming and partnerships with local businesses and groups to better utilize the available space and resources.
As memberships increased, facility users and rentals increased and those factors combined with the supporting sales tax collections increasing the Community Center began putting together a plan for long range goals and expansion.
The first expansion project began many years before any actual construction happened. It started with a multi-year fundraiser and donations that culminated with the construction of Challenger Field. Opening in March 2015 Challenger Field was a true community effort as can be seen by the plaque on the concession stand identifying everyone that was part of the process. The project was spearheaded by Jason and Sarah Schott in their efforts to bring the Challenger Baseball program to Ste. Genevieve. The all turf, all-inclusive field serves as the home field of the Ste. Genevieve Challenger Baseball program and many other local teams, events and programs.
Braden and Friends Challenger Playground
The next project served as the perfect complement to Challenger Field. In September 2016 Braden and Friends Challenger Playground was opened. This 16,000 square-foot all-inclusive playground named after Jason and Sarah Schott’s son Braden was designed as a place for children of all abilities to play side by side and give everyone the opportunity to experience what it is like to have fun on a playground. In addition to the playground this phase of the expansion saw additional parking and 2 tennis courts added next to the playground and connecting the ball field parking lot with the existing Community Center lot.
Progress Sports Complex
Those projects catch us up to the most recent phase of the expansion which just saw the grand openings of two more facilities as part of the Community Center umbrella. The Progress Sports Complex is the newest facility located on the Ste. Genevieve County Community Center campus. Located on Progress Parkway and nestled between the original Community Center building, the tennis courts and Braden and Friends Challenger Playground this 43,000 square-foot complex serves as a perfect match to the other Ste. Genevieve County recreational offerings. The facility includes a gymnasium that can offer 2 full basketball courts or 4 simultaneously played volleyball courts with seating to accommodate more than 1,500 people. In addition to the gymnasium space there is a turf baseball area with retractable netting so the space can be used for youth soccer practice. That portion of the building also features 2 racquetball courts. Meeting rooms designed for all types of business meetings, showers and special events including a kitchen space along with a board room and concession stand round out the remainder of the building. The Progress Sports Complex opened in July 2018 and is also home to the local University of Missouri Extension office and the Independence Center of Ste. Genevieve, LLC.
Bloomsdale 24/7 Fitness Center
Also in 2018 the Ste. Genevieve County Community Center expanded beyond its location in the Ste. Genevieve city limits. The Community Center understands the importance of being able to provide everyone in the county a chance to use our facilities and when the opportunity came along to partner with Mid-America Rehab on a project everything seemed to fall into place. In July 2018 in partnership with Mid-America Rehab the Community Center opened a 24/7 fitness center in Bloomsdale, MO. As the fastest growing part of our county we saw Bloomsdale as a market that we wanted to be part of which lead to this project. This center features a small walking track, free weights, weight machines and cardio equipment along with an aqua therapy pool. This facility also features the Bloomsdale branch of the Ste. Genevieve County Library.
Finally that gets us to the most current expansion project. In April 2017 the voters of Ste. Genevieve County passed a ½ cent 20 year sales tax to fund the construction and operation of a waterpark. With construction currently underway the water park will be officially opened in May 2019. The park will include a 4-lane mat racer slide, an open flume drop/speed slide, and 2 closed flume body/tube slides. In addition to the slides the park will also feature a lazy river, zero entry wading pool, vortex, children’s crossing activity area, a sun deck and multiple ground water features. The children’s play structure and lap pool with diving board, climbing wall and zipline round out the park’s amenities.
While these are just brief descriptions of the many projects we have accomplished the impact of them on the community is immeasurable. What started as one idea and one building has grown into so much more. None of this could have been possible without all those that have helped along the way and most importantly could not have happened without the support of the community. So whether you have been a member from the beginning or just recognized the importance we serve in this community we thank you for your support. We hope to continue to be the hub of community life, where everyone can gather in a safe, positive atmosphere to laugh, learn and lead healthier lives just like that day in February of 2000 when we opened our first set of doors.