The North Peace Gymnastics Association (NPGA) has struggled to retain membership in their current temporary location since a fire devastated their space at the recreation complex in 2015, but it now appears there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The group’s board of directors asked the City of Fort St. John at Monday’s council meeting for a letter of support in their quest to received funding from the BC Rural Dividend Program.
In the letter, the NPGA states that they are nearing a partnership with a “local company to renovate an existing commercial building in the heart of the city.” The funding from the grant would help kickstart the renovations needed to make the building work for the gymnastics club.
The city approved the request for a letter, and if the grant is approved the gymnastic club could receive up to $500,000 in funding to upgrade the space.
Excutive Director of the NPGA Stephanie Engelmyer confirmed to the Alaska Highway News earlier this week that they are “close” to nearing a deal with a local business, but the specifics have not yet been finalized.
Even with this shred of positive news, Engelmyer said the mood had the club has increased ten fold.
“We are ecstatic,” Engelmyer said.
“The mood in the gym in the past few weeks has been happy. We have a new board of directors and they have been amazing. They jumped on this application and the opportunity for this new facility and things have been going really good. We’ve been seeing a lot of movement in the last few weeks.”
With the club seemingly ready to move on from their old space leased from the city, General Manager of Community Services Wally Ferris said the damage from the 2015 fire is still being assessed and is expected to completed soon.
“We’re still in negations with the insurance company. A report will be coming forward to a council meeting,” Ferris said.
“The discussions are a negotiation with respect a city owned asset and an organization that did lease that space from the city. Those negotiations are confidential and they’re ongoing and we’re very close to wrapping those up.”