From dream to reality: Multipurpose center takes shape in Crawford County

Community News

Robinson, Illinois, Foundation
(L-R), Chris Forde, Tony Pleasant, Bill Sandiford, Kevin Bogard, Amy Macak, Brad Levi, Alex Pleasant, Hon. Mark Shaner.
  • Leaders from Marathon Petroleum recently took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new community recreation facility at Lincoln Trail College (LTC) in Robinson, Illinois, a campus of Illinois Eastern Community Colleges (IECC).
  • The much-anticipated project, boasting 25,000 square feet, was designed to enhance the quality of life for residents of Crawford County.
  • The center will include a 6,000-square-foot fitness center along with multipurpose sports courts and will offer after-school programming and childcare services.

On Friday, Sept. 23, refining leaders from Marathon Petroleum, including the company’s Findlay headquarters and Robinson refinery, joined local leaders in Crawford County for the groundbreaking of a much-anticipated recreation center. The community-focused facility is the result of community conversations that Marathon Petroleum helped spearhead years prior.

Rendering of the project

These conversations entailed working with residents to identify community needs. Kevin Bogard, Senior Vice President of Refining at Marathon Petroleum, originally helped host them with other community partners during his time as the Robinson refinery’s general manager.

As a guest speaker at the recent celebratory event, Bogard shared his excitement over the project’s milestone, while reflecting on how it all began.

“This idea stemmed from a series of meetings with people across Crawford County to figure out what was needed to enhance the quality of life in the area,” said Bogard. “A space to promote physical and social health and where residents could come together topped the list and set the wheels in motion for this dream to become a reality.”  

“This center will be a cornerstone of this community for many years to come.”

Once constructed, the complex will boast 25,000 square feet and will include a 6,000-square-foot fitness center complete with childcare services. It will also have two indoor multipurpose sports courts, along with space for after-school programming. It will connect to the existing indoor swimming pool at LTC, which will also have new recreational features, including waterslides and an indoor party room. With this connection, the entire facility will be over 36,000 square feet and is expected to open in the spring of 2023.

“If you don’t pursue a dream, or give that big idea a shot, you might never start anything new,” said groundbreaking guest speaker Gary Carter, Chairman, IECC Board of Trustees. “Thankfully, that didn’t happen in this case. This team of dreamers, along with the backing of this incredible community, turned this big idea into a reality.”

While the road to securing the total funding needed wasn’t always a smooth one, Bogard, who has called Robinson home multiple times during his 30-plus year career at Marathon, said he knew this day would come due to the steadfast collaboration between school, church, business and community leaders to keep the dream alive.

“This center will be a cornerstone of this community for many years to come,” Bogard said.

Aside from Bogard, other Marathon refining leaders present at the groundbreaking event included Brad Levi, Senior Vice President of Refining, and Amy Macak, Robinson refinery General Manager. In addition to playing a thought partnership role in the project, Marathon donated an initial $1 million in community investments to help the project progress. More recently, Marathon made an additional $75,000 donation for the construction of a walking path around the recreation center.

Kevin Bogard speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the recreation center being built on the campus of Lincoln Trail College.