By TJ Carson

ELMWOOD, Ill. – A rural community in Peoria County is one step closer to having a community wellness and health center.

A $15 million capital campaign is underway to fund the Elmwood Rural Health and Wellness Center.  The campaign has so far raised a third of the amount, boosted by Congressman Darin LaHood announcing Thursday of a $3.75 million federal grant for the facility.  The grant was also supported by former Congresswoman Cheri Bustos.

The center is a joint venture between the Greater Peoria Family YMCA, the Elmwood Community Foundation, and Graham Medical Group.  Services that are planned for the facility will be similar to a YMCA, including an indoor walking track, a three-lane swimming pool, youth and senior programs, a community center, and more.

Greater Peoria YMCA President Andy Thornton says the organization wanted to be involved in the project to increase access to services they provide.

“All the people in these rural communities have access issues, because you gotta drive a half hour to Peoria, half hour to Galesburg, half hour to Canton to get some of those services in a quality format,” Thornton said. “And so we can eliminate that by placing this here.”

Elmwood Community Foundation President Tony Hart says a lot of people will be served by the facility.

“There’s roughly 18,000 people in the surrounding area within an about 15-20 minute drive.  So to have access to this type of facility will just further enhance their lives out here,” Hart said.

Construction is expected to begin in late 2024, with completion by 2025.  Thornton says the facility will add about 50-60 new jobs in the Elmwood area.