October 3, 2002

Fitness Center To Receive Second Round Of NAP State Tax Credits

While Christmas is nearly three months away the Scotland County Community Fitness Center got an early visit from Santa Claus when Missouri Governor Bob Holden announced on September 27 that the Rec/Plex in Memphis is among the 104 organizations in the state approved for the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP).

The fitness center was approved for a $287,000 NAP grant, which will allow the organization to offer the more than a quarter million dollars in state tax credits to donors making contributions to the center.

"We had nearly given up on being approved for the NAP," said Rec/Plex board chairperson Judy Campbell. "With the economic issues the state is having we were losing hope as we had sent the application in back in February."

This mark's the facility's second successful NAP application. The first allowed the group to purchase the current fitness center site and to equip the Rec/Plex with an indoor walk/jog track as well as a multitude of exercise equipment.

However the organization is even more excited about this second NAP approval as it will offer a 70-percent tax credit to donors.

"Our first NAP was only for 50 percent and we still did very well raising the money from donors," Campbell stated. "With the new NAP approved at 70 percent for the tax credits I think more people will be willing to take advantage and make contributions to our fitness center."

The new NAP grant is slotted by the board for use in adding a new gymnasium to the fitness center complex.

The group began preliminary plans for adding a gym roughly 18 months ago. Initial designs call for placing the gym at the southeast corner of the current fitness center. It will be a separate building that will be connected to the center via a causeway.

"We looked at this 18 months ago so I'm sure costs have changed since then," said board member Tom Deberry. "But at that time we set our sights at around $400,000."

Deberry noted that the gym would require a separate heating and cooling system from the main facility. Another major expense is the gym floor, which can cost as much as $80,000 by itself.

The NAP program is to assist not-for-profit organizations in raising private-sector funds by providing partial state tax credits to businesses that make contributions to approved community improvement projects.

"The quality of life in our communities has become a more significant factor in the 21st Century economic development efforts," said Holden. "The Neighborhood Assistance Pro-gram provides an incentive for businesses to get involved in the betterment of Missouri communities. And when communities and businesses work in partnership, Missouri wins."

Businesses can donate cash; materials, supplies or equipment; technical assistance and professional services; labor; real estate; or stocks and bonds to the fitness center in order to qualify for the tax credit reimbursement. Under the current NAP plan donors will receive 70 percent of their donation back in the form of credits good against their state tax debts.

Not-for-profit organizations participating in the NAP program provide services to help individuals in their communities in a variety of manners such as crime prevention; education; job training; and physical revitalization; or provide community services such as counseling, day care, senior citizen centers, recreation, food and transportation.

"The state is proud to work in partnership with our communities to support projects that make our cities and neighborhoods safer, healthier and more self sufficient," said Joseph Driskill, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED). "Despite the economic challenges that the state and our communities have faced in the past year, we are pleased to be able to award NAP tax credits at a level similar to what has been awarded in the past. We fully understand how important this incentive is in helping community-based organizations raise funds to support vital community programs and services."

Statewide the NAP program was approved for 104 projects at nearly $14.9 million in state tax credits. That will leverage approximately $30 million in private contributions. The NAP program can equal up to 50 percent of the total amount contributed in most urban areas, or up to 70 percent for projects located in most rural areas like Scotland County.

Since Missouri enacted the NAP program more than 4,000 organizations in more than 270 cities have benefited as more than 40,000 donors have contributed in excess of $220 million to NAP projects. The program has a successful history in Scotland County as it fueled the Memphis Theatre project as well as the Fitness Center.

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