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Credit union offers funds to Santo center

Rogue Federal Credit Union has offered to donate $50,000 toward a gym floor for the Santo Community Center in exchange for center-court logos.

Mike Moore, chief business development officer for RFCU, said civic support is part of the organization's mission.

"This is one of those opportunities where we can help the community," he said.

The new gym floor is part of a remodel and expansion project for the Santo Community Center, 701 N. Columbus Ave., Medford.

The Medford Parks and Recreation Department is adding 12,000 square feet for a gym and an entryway to the building as well as upgrading its heating/air conditioning system.

Brian Sjothun, parks director, said the total project cost is $1.8 million, and in addition to the credit union's donation, will be funded through a car-rental tax started in 2005, as well as the city's hotel/motel tax, system development charges and federal grants.

Jason Anderson, Medford city councilman and a basketball player in the city's adult league for 12 years, applauded the contribution.

"There is an obvious need for more recreational opportunities in our community. I'm pleased to learn of Rogue Federal's assistance," he said. Children and adults in city leagues have to share gyms with the schools, he said, and sometimes adult games don't start until 9 p.m. because there's no other time to play.

Anderson said in addition to basketball, field hockey and indoor soccer, those organizing other events struggle to schedule time on Medford's limited gym space. "When it rains, baseball practice is inside," he said. "I'm sure this gym will be put to great use."

Sjothun said the floor will be a synthetic type surface that will be more multi-purpose than a hardwood floor.

He said while commercial naming rights are sold in other cities, this is the Medford department's first venture into naming rights used to fund projects. The parks department is also hoping to sell naming rights to the new sports park on Highway 99.

"This is government being out of the box," he said.

He said he hopes to be breaking ground in May for the expansion of the Santo Community Center.

Moore said for the credit union, the contribution is right up their alley.

"We feel very strongly (about) helping the kids have a place to go and exert energy," he said.

The credit union also is helping sponsor a scoreboard at Kids Unlimited on Riverside Avenue. It's also helped ACCESS with food packaging as well as fixed up and painted the day-care building at North Medford High School, helped with the skate park at Bear Creek Park and built an outdoor play structure at Phoenix Elementary School.

The naming rights agreement with Rogue Federal is scheduled for approval by the Medford City Council during its noon meeting Thursday. If approved, Rogue Federal will have naming rights for 10 years and can put its logo in two places on the gym floor and have some gym use privileges.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail mlanders@mailtribune.com.