The Fort Gymnastics Club needs a new home, and soon.
Fort Gymnastics Club board president Heather Tedesco and head coach Leanne Cameron requested council's assistance with facility space at the Tuesday (Mar.27) meeting.
"We've been working on this for a long time and I really do believe that they know we've had a need, we've been around for a long time, as I said 1975, but we also do recognize it is a big ask, but I believe we're worth it," said Tedesco.
Right now the club is up for anything the city is willing to do. There are five separate options floating around involving leasing, purchasing or building a new facility.
"We're asking for help to keep the Fort Gymnastics Club alive," said Tedesco. "As it stands today we're the only sport without a city space."
Securing a new space would also allow them to expand and provide a boys' program.
"The boys' equipment takes up so much additional square footage and we have the demand for a boys' program," said Cameron. "We're having to turn them away because we don't have the space to put the equipment in."
Councillor Jibs Abitoye asked where they saw the club in five to 10 years in terms of space.
Cameron replied that she's always said around 20,000 square feet would be ideal for clubs for the long term. Right now the club is functioning in roughly 7,000 square feet of space.
They talked about maintenance issues they've faced at their current location; their lease will be up as of June 30.
"We can't renew that lease, that space is not an option for us," said Cameron. "We're not able to provide the funds as well, the facility is just too small and it needs too much repair work done. Our buckets lining the walls and on our bar mats right now are getting excessive with this warm weather but we're hoping the city steps in and helps us find a permanent home."
The city has invested a lot of time on this project and provided a $33,000 operating grant to get the club through these six months.
"Those two things give us hope as well. We don't think they would put that kind of time and money into us if they didn't believe in us and didn't want to support us further. We're grateful we were able to get our girls through the season without interruption," said Cameron.
Katchur noted that the majority of city facilities are considered multi-use.
"Hypothetically if council were to do something, is there a way to add something into this to make it more of a multi-use facility?" she said.
"I do believe so," replied Cameron, drawing attention to the fact their current floor space has been used by multiple community groups for yoga or other activities, and that the Fort lacks places for children's birthday parties.
No decision was made at the meeting but the matter will be coming back to council in April.

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