Upping Scholarship Fund, Adding Facilities Top the Wish List
MONTROSE – The defeat at the polls last year of a temporary Montrose sale tax increase, targeted to build a recreation center, has not dampened the enthusiasm of those who would “make Montrose a leading community in Colorado for recreational opportunities.”
To that end, a new group has formed, called the Montrose Recreation Foundation, and an anonymous donation of $10,000 has kicked off the fundraising.
MRF plans to work closely with the Montrose Recreation District to accomplish its goals, said MRF Board President Lori Sharp in announcing the foundation’s launch on Feb. 26.
“The members of the Foundation are passionate about recreation and the resulting benefits for our community,” she said. “The primary goals of the organization are to significantly increase the youth scholarship fund to allow more kids to participate in organized physical activities and to raise capital for the expansion of recreational opportunities in Montrose. We are all very excited for this initial donation, and hope that others will consider getting involved as well.”
The first commitment the MRF has made is to raise $3,000 to support the MRD/City of Montrose’s Great Outdoors Colorado grant application for a whitewater park, river trail and field renovation, Sharp said. “This project lines up with our desire to see an expansion of outdoor opportunities in our community. This improvement would be great for locals and tourists alike.”
Another project the MRF has committed to is an expansion of the MRD Youth Scholarship Fund. The group has set of goal of increasing the scholarship budget by 25 percent per year over the next five years.
“Participating in sports benefits kids in many ways,” Sharp said.
MRF Vice President Mindy Miller, a Montrose family physician, added, “It helps kids develop self-confidence, teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership skills. They learn discipline in setting and reaching goals. Teens who participate in sports are less likely to use drugs and alcohol, smoke cigarettes, participate in criminal activities, or become pregnant during high school. Studies have shown that they are more likely to achieve academic success and graduate. Kids who participate in sports have improved fitness and learn healthy habits they can use for a lifetime. We would like to help lower the financial burden for families in need and provide an opportunity for more kids to be involved in such valuable activities.”
“The MRD is excited to have the commitment and resources of the Foundation to help Montrose improve its quality of life through recreational opportunities,” said MRD Executive Director Ken Sherbenou. “The support of the MRF will be important for securing the resources required to better meet the needs of the community for indoor and outdoor recreation facilities. The last time we added outdoor recreation amenities was in 1995 when the McNeil fields were constructed. Since then, the population of Montrose has increased 71 percent, from 11,161 to 19,090.”
The MRF plans to raise funds a variety of ways, including hosting events such as gear swaps, applying for grants, and soliciting for donations from private individuals and businesses. The kickoff events include the MRF Community Tap Night on Tuesday, March 12 at the Horsefly Brewery, 846 E. Main, where $1 for every pint sold goes to the MRF, and a Gear Swap, which will happen on Saturday, March 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Aquatic Center, 25 Colorado Ave.
The organization is filing for nonprofit status, and was recently approved as a component fund of the Montrose Community Foundation. MRF Board of Directors include: Sharp, Miller, Treasurer Suzi King, Secretary Sara Lokey, Ellen Angeles, Mike Brown, Wayne Quade, Valerie Harper, Rob Omer, Jayne Bilberry, Jim Plumhoff and Judy Lokey.
For more information on the organization, the events, or to get involved, visit MontroseRecFoundation.org. To donate, please call the Montrose Community Foundation at 970/249-3900.