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Meeting planned Monday for Rec Center Booster Club

Photo by JJ Marshall

Nearly 17 years ago, Minden cut the ribbon on the Minden Recreation Complex. Considered the legacy of the late Minden Mayor Bill Robertson, the complex was hailed as a “feather in our cap.” Now, that “feather’ is about to get a boost.

The first organizational meeting for a new Minden Recreational Complex Booster club will be held on Monday, May 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Minden Community House at 711 Gladney Street.

“Everyone is invited to this meeting,” District E City Councilman Pam Bloxom said. “I truly believe that this booster club can become a reality, as well as the biggest asset the Rec Center could possibly have.”

The idea behind the booster club is to improve the facilities at the Minden Recreational Complex by creating a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization with a citizen’s Board of Directors overseeing the use of monies raised from donations and grant programs.

“What we have to do is get our complex up to the standard,” Bloxom said. “At the organizational meeting, we will discuss the reality of the booster club, fundraising as well as gauge interest level and commitment from citizens.”

Rocke Musgraves, director of the Parks and Recreation for the City of Minden, said that instead of complaining about a lack of resources, the plan is to try and do something about it.

“Pam Bloxom and Mayor Gardner started this thing and I’m so happy they did,” Musgraves said. “What we are trying to do, is add some facilities at the park to help our youth and adults in this city as well, and that’s going to take money to pull off.”

The idea became a budget initiative after a visit to a municipal meeting last month in West Monroe, where Bloxom, Councilman Keith Beard and Gardner were touring the local facilities and saw what grant money has done for West Monroe.

“We found out that not all grant money is applicable to municipalities, and that some has to go to private entities,” Bloxom said.

“So we started thinking that it would be a perfect tool for us to implement a booster club for the Rec Center.”

Soon after, they visited Ruston and met with Mayor Ronnie Walker.

“Ruston passed a bond issue to build a multi-million dollar complex to go after huge tournaments for baseball and softball,” Bloxom said. “In some cases, they would need a supplemental complex to handle extra games, and we in Minden are sitting in a perfect place to handle that.”

Bloxom expects Ruston’s project to be functional by 2020.

“We need to get our complex up to standard to complement what Ruston is doing,” she said.

But the idea is not solely based on being a complement to other cities.

With all the focus on sports year-round in Minden, it only makes sense that there be an organization to help get the city on par with the rest of the country, organizers said.

“Lots of people in Minden are athletically-oriented and interested in seeing this develop,” Musgraves said. “I think we’re a little behind the times. But, this booster club is going to help us catch up.

“We can add different programs that we don’t currently have. My push is to have a fitness-oriented approach for the entire population. Hopefully, we can get the community behind us. Minden is one of the most giving communities I know.”