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Gymnastics club seeking funding

Posted on December 4, 2013 by Taber Times

Seeking a portion of municipal funding for a new gymnastics building, the Taber Gymnastics Fitness Club (TGFC) pitched their case to town council last week.

The club has rented the Community Centre auditorium from the Town of Taber for the past 30 years, for a total of $10,230 for 2013. The TGFC has grown to serve approximately 150-200 children each session, running three sessions per year in the fall, winter and spring at 10 classes per session.

“It’s been three years since we sat before council, and at that time we were asking the town for help in purchasing land, and we were ultimately turned down,” said Tara Coney, representing a delegation from the TGFC. “We’ve been working hard fundraising, and we haven’t given up, however we have changed our plans. We’ve purchased a lot in downtown Taber, which we thought would be great to enhance downtown, to bring business to the downtown, in a great location — a lot of the buildings that would have been suitable for our needs brought us to the industrial area, which is not a great place to have a sport. We wanted to keep it in an area that was good for recreation. So we felt this was a suitable and more affordable way for us to go. We’ve cut our dream gym in about half.”

In the past, the TGFC offered a competitive program, but due to a lack of training hours and training tools available, the organization currently only offers a recreational program. The club has provided service in the community for the past 38 years.

“In about three years we’ve raised about $90,000,” said Coney. “We’ve purchased the lot for $106,000, and we’ve bought our floorplans that were about $10,000. We’ve also purchased about $28,000 worth of equipment that we’ve needed. So we are beginning to exhaust our fundraising. We’re still going, we’ve got a lot of plans still ahead for grants that we’re eligible for.”

A non-profit organization run by a board of directors and head coaches, the TGFC currently offers rec gymnastics, rec cheerleading, and rec dance programs, and also offer school field trips.

“Not that we’re finished fundraising now, but we feel like it’s getting to be a time-sensitive issue. We want our kids to enjoy this gym, not our grandkids. So we’ve here before council today to ask for assistance for funds for our building,” said Coney.

Problems currently faced by the TGFC in the current town auditorium facility include a lack of storage, issues involving stress to equipment with set-up and take-down, an inability to set up certain equipment due to the limitations of temporary use of the current facility, past problems pertaining to equipment with regard to other renters of the auditorium, and the lack of a foam pit for the progressing of gymnastic skill development.

“The problem isn’t going away,” said Coney. “It was brought back to our attention that it is a community centre. Taber wants gymnastics, and I don’t think that the town has ever not realized that, but it is a community centre that we’re using, that space, the storage areas mainly, and the booking that possibly could be better used on something different. We are monopolizing a lot of that space, and it is a community centre. We had never really thought of it that way.”

After exhausting a variety of possible facility options, the TGFC decided upon the construction of their own facility located in the downtown area. The TGFC researched where the best location would be, and decided upon the purchase of two vacant lots located at 5336 48th Avenue for $100,000.

“It had been said at our last meeting that we were possibly not a viable sport, that our project wasn’t viable. And we definitely took that into consideration, and we’ve downsized our plan and our gym. We feel with this gym, we’re no longer looking for renters, or incorporate any other sports, because we felt that it was untimely, and just not as financially viable, as we are non-profit,” said Coney.

The total estimated cost of the proposed facility is $535,500 (which includes the $100,000 purchase of two lots). The TGFC is seeking $276,250, or 65 per cent of the project cost, from the Town of Taber for construction of the project.

“We pride ourselves on trying to keep the sport of gymnastics as afforable for the whole community as possible. With our own building, we could definitely expand our programming,” said Coney.

Based on a percentage breakdown of student participation in classes offered by the TGFC (65 per cent Taber and 35 per cent M.D. of Taber), the club will also be seeking 35 per cent of the cost for the project from the M.D. of Taber, at a cost of $148,750.

Coun. Laura Ross-Giroux commended the organization on their fundraising efforts towards the construction of a new facility.

“I really applaud your initiative, and the fundraising that you’ve done, and looking towards future funding. Kudos to you for doing that. It’s not often we see groups come forward with this much initiative.”

Coney noted TGFC is currently looking at a five year plan for implementation of ther project, with enrollment numbers expected to double once the facility is in place.

Coun. Randy Sparks asked the delegation to not include unsecured grant funding within their financial information when presenting to council in the future.

“Whenever you’re bringing numbers to council, do not include grants that you have not received. It’s very misleading. Unless you’ve been told yes you have this, don’t include it in your financials. It’s happened before, when organizations have come back to use and said we didn’t receive this grant, please give us more money. Adding grant funding that is unsecured to a financial statement is misleading to council and everybody else.”

Coney confirmed the organization would be willing to consider the possibility of a debenture from the town that could be paid back over a set period of time.

“You do need your own stand-alone facility, there’s no question,” said Coun. Sparks. “What percentage this council is willing to put forth for this, is a question that is to be answered in the future. Council, and myself, appreciate you getting after this, and scaling back your proposal from last time. It’s more realistic now, wheareas before it was more of a Taj Mahal of an issue.”

Council voted unanimously to accept as information the presentation of the delegation.

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