Indoor recreation facility to be developed in Madison for public use
Runnings donates former store to LAIC for youth skill development
A new indoor recreation facility will soon be available for public use in Madison. The former Runnings store is being converted to allow for various activities including baseball, softball, archery, and more.
Runnings recently donated their former store and associated property to the Lake Area Improvement Corporation.
The LAIC is spearheading the necessary improvements to the property as well as equipment purchases.
“We are extremely grateful to Runnings for donating this property for public use,” said LAIC Executive Director Brooke Rollag. “Once complete, this will be a welcome addition to Madison, creating an indoor training and recreation facility.”
Re-purposing of existing facilities
Runnings purchased the property in 2020 from Campbell Supply and soon announced plans to build a new, larger store in the city’s industrial park.
Since re-locating, the previous store has sat empty. The property also consists of a former mechanic shop and another vacant building, at one time home to a Jack and Jill grocery store.
Officials with the LAIC and the City of Madison reached out to Runnings offering ideas about future use of the building. In the end, Runnings offered to donate the property as they had no useful purpose to maintain it. The property also sits in a floodplain, making it less attractive for re-sale.
“Runnings was happy to donate the property for eventual use by the community,” said Runnings CFO Jeff Haukom. “While the facility no longer fit our needs, the store has useful life remaining, and we were glad to find a purpose for it.”
The LAIC and city jumped on the idea, knowing another facility could take some stress off the city’s auditorium and armory.
“The armory is constantly booked for various youth practices and other events,” said Rollag. “By moving some activities to another facility, the parks department has more flexibility in scheduling.”
Several improvements are planned for the property including demolition and removal of the former mechanic shop and grocery store, due to numerous safety concerns.
The former Runnings store will be converted into a recreation facility with batting and pitching cages for baseball and softball, an archery range and space for agility training. Other ideas also include off season football and youth soccer.
“Many families travel out of town for youth development due to lack of local facilities and equipment,” said Rollag. “We are excited for the opportunities this will provide the community.”
Some activities will not be feasible in the building due to ceiling height, such as basketball or volleyball.
The LAIC plans to solicit and utilize donations to convert the building. They are confident they can raise sufficient funds to cover 100% of the improvements.
Upon completion of the improvements, the LAIC will sell the property to the city of Madison at a price of costs incurred.
“We are happy to spearhead this project, but in the end the city will oversee operations,” Rollag continued. “A big part of economic development is quality of life and this project will be a substantial asset to the community. Keeping people in town is always a win.”
Once completed, the city will be responsible for maintenance and operation of the facility.
While individuals and private organizations will be able to use the facility, many items are yet to be worked out such as fees and access. Opportunities for new programs or activities may also exist.
Ideas are also being considered for the remainder of the property, with a focus on recreation.
The LAIC is hoping to have the project complete by late next year.