Members of the Charles Hays Rainmakers

VIDEO and STORY: $74,000 to revamp the civic centre’s gym

Funding partners pooled $74,000 to refinish the surface of the Prince Rupert gymnasium floor, something that hadn't been done in 45 years.

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The gym floors in the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre sparkle now thanks to a partnership between the Port of Prince Rupert, Northern Development Initiative Trust and the City of Prince Rupert.

Together the partners pooled $74,000 to refinish the surface of the gymnasium floor — something that hadn’t been done in 45 years.

A few members of the Charles Hays Rainmakers were at the gym on Nov. 8 testing out the improved court.

Grade 12 student Skyler Wesley was impressed. “I like it. Brand new, university sized, it will prepare us when we try out for university teams,” he said.

The Russell Gamble Gymnasium is the focal point of the annual All Native Basketball Tournament and for many athletes in the Prince Rupert community. The city had identified the gym as a priority for upgrades. The recreation facility hadn’t seen any significant improvements since it was built in 1971.

With the new funding, the original gym floors were sanded and refinished. The lighting system was upgraded with energy efficient LEDs, and the city crest is emblazoned in centre court. The colour scheme, red, white and black, was chosen in honour of the traditional Coast Tsimshian colours.

“The city is grateful to our partners for helping us to renew one of the most used recreation spaces in Prince Rupert. We are looking forward to seeing the new floor put to use at this year’s All Native Tournament,” Mayor Lee Brain said.

The Port of Prince Rupert contributed $28,000 through their Community Investment Fund, making this the 47th project they have participated in over the past six years — and a total of $5.8 million in regional investments.

“The port’s Community Investment Fund we set up in our attempt to share the growth and the benefits of a growing port with the community, and we look forward to projects that invest in the community,” said Don Krusel, the president and CEO of the Port of Prince Rupert at the gym floor’s commissioning on Nov. 8.

The other major contributor, Northern Development Initiative Trust, donated $15,000 through its Community Halls and Recreation Facility program. The City of Prince Rupert threw in the rest of the funding with $31,000.

“It’s showing our commitment to recreation in the community and ultimately partnership is how we’re going to move this town forward,” Brain said.

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