Outdoor Courts at the Y – Project Update, October 2017

What an exciting story we have to share. Ground is being broken this week for Phase 1 of the Outdoor Courts at the Y! How cool is that?


For certain, it did not happen overnight. Many people have been working extremely hard for over 2 years to help get us to this point. From initial questions such as where should it be located to how do we raise enough money to make this happen; people have been passionate and committed to make this happen. We cannot thank them enough.

Our BIG BREAK came during the week of Sept. 18th when bids were received by SEH from 3 local contractors. To our great fortune, one of them, Hawkinson Construction, submitted a bid for the entire project that far exceeded our expectations as to how low it was. Their bid was almost $60,000 less than original cost estimates.


The project has been divided into two phases; Phase 1 work will be done this fall, weather permitting. This includes site preparation, establishment of subgrade soil base, installing conduit for future electrical needs, installing standards for basketball boards and pickleball nets, curbing for the new parking lot and the first lay of asphalt.

Provided sufficient funding is in place (more on that later), Phase 2 will commence next spring with final completion no later than mid-July 2018. This work will consist of fence installation, final lay of asphalt, application of acrylic final coating, installation of remaining hardware and perimeter ground grooming.


In a nutshell, very favorable. However, it must be emphasized that we currently do not have sufficient funding to initiate Phase 2 which is scheduled to start next spring. As of this writing, we have raised $271,912 via contributions, pledges, in-kind services and grants. This is truly an impressive amount but not yet sufficient to meet our total funding needs.

Hawkinson’s bid, engineering fees and a project contingency total $288,174. This leaves us with a project shortfall of $16,261. However, additional proposed project expenditures including wind screens, tables with sun screens and contributor recognition plaques could total an additional $24,000. So our ODC Courts at the Y Implementation Committee has endorsed a ‘Final Stretch’ remaining fundraising goal of $40,000. (OVER)

Please be aware that due to much higher costs than originally estimated, neither venue will be initially illuminated. Current estimates for lighting both venues is $85,000. So if by any chance we were able to
raise an additional $125,000, lighting could be easily added into Phase 2 work next spring. Wiring will be stubbed in to make this future enhancement easy to complete.


We are confident that once completed, this outdoor basketball, pickleball and four square venue will be a significant addition to our community and surrounding area. It will provide an opportunity for people of all ages to exercise, socialize and have some terrific fun all at no cost. Others from the metro area have commented after reviewing our plans that “the Outdoor Courts at the Y will become the premiere facility north of the Twin Cities”.


We are currently around $40,000 short in financial pledges and/or contributions. Any additional contributions to reduce this shortfall would be greatly appreciated. Talk to your friends, neighbors, relatives etc. about this project and why you are passionate about it. Any acceleration in your pledge payments would certainly help as well. New contributions can be arranged simply by contacting any of the individuals below and they will be happy to forward to you the ODC at the Y pledge form or any other project information. Please remember that all contributions are tax deductible and can indeed be paid over a two year period. PLUS your name will appear on a donor plaque once the courts are completed.

Monica Beighley: 218-398-001      Sue Koprowski: 612-710-3984
Joni Namyst: 218-327-1161             Kay Dugas: 218-244-3044
Troy Gunderson: 218-232-0291     Patty Clusiau: 218-259-1406

Should you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact Bob Holycross at 218-244-8289 or or Steve Feyma at 218-259-5684 or We thank you for your terrific support and enthusiasm.

Outdoor Courts at the Y: Final Stretch Fundraising  Q & A’s

What does this project entail?
Building an outdoor multi-generational venue at the Itasca County Family YMCA comprised of a full-size basketball court, a 6-court pickleball venue and four square courts.
Why is it necessary?
We are strengthening our community by creating another avenue for all people, regardless of age, religion or ethnic culture to gather and improve themselves in spirit, mind and body. We are creating another avenue to bring people into our community who will frequent our shops, restaurants, hotels, etc.
Do I need to be a member of the Itasca County Family YMCA in order to use this facility?
A YMCA Membership will not be required to use the facility. Access will be made available to the general public, subject to schedule.
When will it be built?
Phase 1 of the project will commence in the Fall of 2017. This work will include completing the subgrade earth work, installing conduit, installing curbing and weather permitting, one lay of asphalt.
Phase 2 of the project will be begin in the spring of 2018 contingent upon securing the necessary funds. This work will include asphalt wear coat, installation of basketball and pickleball hardware, fencing, and acrylic surfacing. Final completion is expected by mid-July 2018.
What is the total cost of the project?
Hawkinson Construction will be the general contractor. Their bid, engineering fees and a project contingency totals $288,174.
What is the current shortfall?
As of the end of Sept., 2017, total funds raised via contributions, pledges, in-kind services and grants totaled $271,912. This leaves us with a projected deficit of $16,261. ($288,174 – $271,912) However, additional anticipated project expenses including wind screens, tables with sun shades and recognition plaques total an estimated $24,000. So our OCD Courts at the Y Implementation Committee has endorsed a ‘Final Stretch’ fundraising goal of $40,000. These added expenditures will bring the total cost of the project to $312,000.
If I make a pledge, do I need to start making payments right now?
No. The Itasca County Family YMCA has agreed to be our fiscal agent. The Pledge Commitment Form is designed to provide much flexibility. Payments do not need to start until the time of your choice sometime in 2017 or early 2018. Plus, you will have your choice of payment via cash, check, credit card, or bank draft. Payment frequency
may be monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. Payment duration may be up to 2 years and possibly longer if the pledge is for $10,000 or larger.
Are the funds I contribute tax deductible?
Yes. The Itasca County YMCA is a charitable non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and consequently, all contributions are tax deductible.
$312,000 is a lot of money. Where will/has it all come from?
$312,000 is a lot of money. However, we have experienced a terrific outcome with our funding efforts. To date, we have achieved over 87% of our needed funding ($271,912/$312,000). This has been accomplished via the generous offering of pledges, contributions, grants and in-kind services from many local individuals, businesses, IRRRB, GRPUC and the City of Grand Rapids.
The Outdoor Courts Implementation Committee will be vigorously pursuing additional granting opportunities during the winter and spring of 2018.
Although it’s extremely exciting to see Phase 1 of the project start this fall, Phase 2 (which involves total project completion) cannot begin next spring until all of the needed funds have been raised.
Will there be a ‘recognition board’ for those wishing to have their contribution recognized?
Yes. There will be something similar as to what the YMCA did with their recent Power of Community capital campaign. An impressive recognition plaque is hanging on the wall by the east entrance to the Y. Something similar will be done for all contributors to this campaign.
If I have any further questions about the project and/or this campaign, who do I contact?
You may contact Bob Holycross, Administrative Chair for the Outdoor Courts Implementation Committee (218-244-8289,, Steve Feyma, Project Design/Construction Chair for the Outdoor Courts Implementation Committee (218-259-5684,, Nick Hansen, Executive Director of the Itasca County Family YMCA (218-327-1161,, Joni Naymst, YMCA Fund Development Director, (218-327-1167, ), Sue Koprowski, (612-710-3984,, Kay Dugas, (218-244-3044,, or Patti Clusiau, (218-259-1406,