ALTON - Tom and Vickie Maxwell, the current owners of The Max Sports, have decided to donate generously to Amare, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Wood River, Illinois.

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With a rich history in the Riverbend area, Max Sports, located at 2300 N. Henry St., Alton, Illinois, has been a hub for sports and fitness enthusiasts for nearly 40 years, dating back to its original operation under Wendell and Barbara McAfoos as Metro Sports. The facility, spread across six acres, features four sand volleyball courts, a full-court basketball gymnasium, a swimming pool, dance and aerobic studios, and extensive exercise and weightlifting equipment.

Since acquiring Metro Sports in 2017, the Maxwells have significantly invested in infrastructure improvements, leading to increased revenue and memberships. The property donation, valued at over $1 million by a St. Louis-based valuation firm, is a major contribution to Amare, with the transfer concluding on Dec. 29.

Tom Maxwell expressed confidence in Amare's future management: "We are confident Ty and his team at Amare will utilize The Max Sports complex to grow and serve both the members and the community. We feel fortunate to make this donation and wish Amare great success moving forward."

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Vickie Maxwell shared her sentiments, saying, "I’d like to thank Ann Henson, our manager, and all our employees, contractors, and members we were blessed to meet over the years."

Ty Bechel, Founding Executive Director of Amare and co-founder of Renegade Gardens has been actively involved in Madison County communities since Amare's inception in 2015. Under the guidance of Bechel and the Amare Board of Directors, the sport and fitness facility will continue operating with community-focused goals, enhancing memberships, improving building infrastructure, and adding new amenities to enrich the club experience.

"I am grateful for Tanya Fox and Paul Stover of Foxes Boxes for introducing me to the Maxwells and for Tom and Vickie’s decision to choose Amare. We feel honor-bound to put our best efforts forward to continue what the Maxwells started in 2017," Bechel said. "Our goal is to develop this into a top-tier fitness and wellness facility, while serving our community to the fullest."

Amare plans to retain the current five employees of Max Sports and has formed an advisory board to the Amare Board of Directors, focused on the fitness facility. The board includes Andre McMurray, Tammy Iskarous, David Newton, Laura Burton, and Kenlea Avello.

For information about renting space at Max Sports & Wellness Center, booking a birthday party, or joining as a member, contact the facility at 618-462-1066.

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