Your Outdoor Courts at the Y Implementation Team is pleased to report that excellent progress is being made in our goal of building an outdoor venue at the local YMCA. A Project Statement was drafted and approved by the Team on 9/12/16 and reads as follows;

To build an outdoor recreational venue at the Itasca County Family YMCA that will help meet the physical, emotional, and social needs of our community. This will be accomplished by constructing a multi-generational area for four square courts, a full-sized basketball court, and a 6-court pickleball venue. Use of the facility will be open to the public and will appeal to and be enjoyed by community members of ALL ages. Target completion date is Sept. 1, 2017.
SEH Engineering in Grand Rapids was contracted in early September to develop the initial court design, schematics and cost estimate. This work has been competed with an estimated cost of the total project at $300,000.

We are also excited to report that significant funds and in-kind services have been committed to the project. In order to meet the requirements of certain grant applications, 1:1 funding was required. What this means is that if we are applying for a $20K grant, we needed to have received an equal amount of pledged, donated, and/or in-kind services.
Based upon this requirement, a ‘Quiet Leadership Campaign’ was designed and launched on 9/14/16. This consisted of identifying and targeting a limited number of passionate members of the pickleball and basketball associations along with a perceived ability to make a significant financial pledge to the project. The results have been truly amazing. After the first 8 days of the campaign, a total of $49,905 had been raised. As of 10/24/16, $68,405 has been raised with strong indications of additional funding yet to come in. It should be noted that a Community Fundraiser is being planned for the spring of 2017. This will provide an opportunity for a much larger number of individuals to provide their financial support for the project.

Even more good news! The City of Grand Rapids was approached with an invitation of assisting us via in-kind or provided services to help offset the project cost estimate. After thoroughly reviewing the detailed cost estimate, the city identified a total of $33,680 in services/supplies that they are willing to commit to the project.

Adding this all up it provides a significant measure of the level of support for this exciting project. The actual sum of $102,085 that has been pledged and/or raised represents slightly over 34% of the total project costs. This is truly an amazing accomplishment in such a short period of time.

Where’s the remainder of the funding going to come from? Efforts are currently underway to identify potential grantors who may be supportive of a project likes ours. Once a potential grantor is identified, it takes a significant amount of time and effort to complete the grant application process. To date, grant applications have been prepared and submitted to the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation, IRRRB, and MN Power. Work is also proceeding with a major potential grantor, US Bank – Places to Play. A preliminary discussion has also taken place with a representative of the Blandin Foundation.

What’s next? Detailed work needs to be accomplished such as working out long term maintenance agreements with all of the project partners. Memorandums of understanding will also need to be developed regarding the actual use and scheduling of the facility. Even though many members of the Implementation Team are ‘snow-birds’ during the winter months, work will continue. As previously mentioned, a community fundraiser is being planned for next spring. If you have any interest in participating in this activity, please contact Bob Holycross at 218-244-8289 or This will be a critical phase in our efforts to complete the project and many people will be needed to successfully carry out the plan.