I've come to Meadville to see MARC.  No, MARC is not a person.  It's a place.  The Meadville Area Recreation Complex.  MARC is celebrating an important anniversary this year.  

It's the 50 year anniversary for the complex.   The MARC provides a lot of fun for Meadville and its surrounding communities.  But, the reason it was founded a half century ago was no laughing matter.  Children were drowning in local creeks and ponds and community leaders wanted to do something about it.

"They wanted to make sure that that wasn't going to happen continuously,” says current executive director Aaron Rekich.  “So what they did is they partnered with a bunch of companies to raise money for an indoor pool so that they could have swim lessons for children."  

That pool has been a popular fixture in Meadville ever since.  But why stop with a pool?  The boards that govern the complex decided to go all-in on a new hockey rink. It was eventually built 12 years after the pool. The rink made it possible for the high school to have a hockey team, and that team turned Meadville into a town that is crazy about hockey.

"I think the state championships speak for themselves when it says that when you come to Meadville, it's going to be a tough game so get ready.  So, I think the MARC should be very proud of the culture that they started here,” says Aaron.  

The MARC continued to grow. It now has a baseball field, tennis and pickleball courts, a skate park, bocce, and nature trails with disc golf.  When winter comes, the trails are used for cross country skiing. You like to grow things? There's a community garden.  The complex covers 53 acres.  By the end of next year, a new outdoor amphitheater will be built near the community garden. It will host concerts. The MARC is a year-round wonderland.

"Things are going to happen all through the fall, all through the winter, all through the spring, all through the summer.  Things are going on all the time here and this is just an awesome community asset,” says Duane Koller, MARC Authority Board Chairman.

The MARC Foundation Board is holding a special fund raising campaign this year to mark the 50 year anniversary. 

"This year, we decided to be very aggressive because it is a big year for us. So the goal we came up with was $150,000,” says Jay Verno, MARC Foundation Board Member. 

Some of the money will be raised by selling a special beer for this special occasion.  Voodoo Brewing Company has created a new lager with a hockey theme. It's called "That's Going to Leave a MARC." Beer taps with a hockey stick and puck will soon be seen in taverns throughout Crawford County.  MARC will receive one dollar for every beer sold.  You better believe this has my support.

Another fund raiser is planned for next month.  A car wash challenge will be held between the MARC Authority Board and the MARC Foundation Board.  It will be held on June 22 and 23.  Additional information will be released soon.