ELKHART, Ind. – Indiana Michigan Power, on behalf of the AEP Foundation, is donating $300,000 to support the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and Beacon Health System’s project to build a premiere health, fitness, aquatics and community center at the former YMCA in Elkhart.

The grant money will specifically go to the development of the 6,000 square-foot community center, which will include a public atrium, meeting spaces, gymnasium, library and an outdoor patio overlooking the river.

“The support from the AEP Foundation and Indiana Michigan Power will help bring the Elkhart community and surrounding areas together for a dedicated community space,” said Pete McCown, President of the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. “Overall, the complex will be one of the largest facilities in the country to offer aquatics, fitness and community engagement.”

“This grant will give local businesses, schools and non-profit organizations a state-of-the-art space to serve the community of Elkhart,” said Toby Thomas, I&M President and Chief Operating Officer. “As the hometown energy provider, I&M has a boundless reach in the community and this project exemplifies that because it will attract workers, address housing needs and improve the overall health of families in this region.”

The approximately 170,000 building will be home to Beacon Health and Fitness, the Elkhart Community Schools swimming and aquatic programs, Elkhart United Aquatics, Bethel College and other local and regional swim competitions. The plan is to host future amateur championships in swimming and regional and state high school competitions. Families and young children will be able to use the facility for recreational swimming and sports like basketball and volleyball.

“In addition to providing a vital community gathering space, this complex will have a measurable economic impact on the City of Elkhart and the region,” said Elkhart Mayor Timothy Neese. “As progress continues on the River District Revitalization Project, the uniqueness of this multi-purpose center will help to attract new residents and visitors to the area and will be a catalyst for future vibrancy and growth.”

The Health, Aquatics and Community Center is expected to be open to the public in June 2019.

>>View exclusive story on WNDU 16

About Elkhart Health, Fitness and Aquatics Inc.:

Elkhart Health Fitness and Aquatics (EHFA) is based in Elkhart, and its leadership consists of a partnership between The Community Foundation of Elkhart County and Beacon Health System to own and operate The Elkhart Health and Aquatics Center. This 170,000 square-foot facility includes one of the largest aquatics facility in the country, along with a Beacon Health and Fitness Center and central community gathering space serving Elkhart and its surrounding communities. Visit www.elkhartcenter.com

About AEP Foundation:

The AEP Foundation is funded by American Electric Power and its utility operating units, including Indiana Michigan Power. The Foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math and the environment and by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger.

About Indiana Michigan Power:

Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,450 employees serve more than 593,900 customers. More than half of its generation is emission-free, including 2,278 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan, 450 MW of purchased wind generation from Indiana, 22 MW of hydro generation in both states and approximately 15 MW of large-scale solar generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 2,600 MW of coal-fueled generation in Indiana.

American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions to our customers. AEP’s more than 17,000 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 224,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 33,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 4,200 megawatts of renewable energy. AEP’s family of companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP also owns AEP Energy, AEP Energy Partners, AEP OnSite Partners and AEP Renewables, which provide innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide.