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Tumbleweeds reinvigorated by new board, rehab of building

Posted 9/01/15 (Tue)

Tumbleweeds reinvigorated by new board, rehab of building

By Cecile Krimm
Crosby’s Prairie Tumbleweeds building is undergoing a major rehabilitation this fall.
At the same time, new board members are injecting fresh energy into the program.
Ilah Wolter, president and Jami Parker, secretary/treasurer, are two of several recent additions to the board, bringing with them new ideas and a desire to carry on the tradition of gymnastics in Crosby, while keeping an eye out for other activities community members might enjoy.
Thanks to a gift from the Olga Rait Estate, the club has funds on hand to tackle the installation of a new concrete floor in the basement, new windows to replace several boarded over, a complete exterior paint job and removal of the old fieldstone steps.
In all, Wolter estimates the current improvements to be in the neighborhood of $50,000 and additional funds will be sought to pay for work beyond that.
Physical transformation
First came the pressure washing and exterior painting -- tackled by board members and a small group of volunteers a few weekends ago.
“We didn’t have a lot of people show up but what did, were amazing,” said Wolter.
Two weekends ago, volunteers ripped out the old basement carpet. Next came demolition of the old steps that led to the original entry of the building, long since covered over.
Though the steps were part of the original Works Progress Administration design from 1936, the building has been plagued with basement moisture for years and the steps weren’t helping to solve the problem.
“By fixing these stairs they can patch the walls,” said Wolter.
As contractors Jeremy Hower and Dale Newton of Construction Squad worked last week to remove old rebar and stone they uncovered fieldstone footings behind the steps to match the rest of the building.
“That was our concern, that underneath there we didn’t have the rocks to match, but now we do!” exclaimed Wolter.
The plan calls for moisture sealing the basement and pouring new concrete for the floor.
Soon, new windows will be installed, including what Parker and Wolter hope will be a “showcase” for display of past trophies and other memorabilia  currently residing in the closets and storage rooms of past members.
They’re hoping it will serve as inspiration to new kids moving through the program, but also  as a point of pride for the community.
New lighting fixtures and a new stucco job are down the road. The stucco job will require significant fundraising.
Dance anyone?
The board is in the process of hammering out details for a dance program in the future.
More than a dozen coaches, some with past experience teaching jazz and ballet, have expressed interest in teaching.
“A group of gals have been talking about it for a couple of years now,” said Wolter, and it looks like a dance program may finally be coming together.
A program during the day for pre-school age children is another possibility this fall, and a yoga program is advertised.
“That way, we’re utilizing the building more,” said Wolter.
“We’re open to suggestions,” said Parker.
One fun idea they’ve had that would also serve as a fundraiser is to plan a night of activities for parents -- such as dinner and a movie out -- to coincide with activities at the gym for children. Instead of paying a babysitter, the event would raise money for the gym.
Lasting legacy
Through discovery of old scrapbooks in the building and visiting with past members and coaches, Wolter and Parker are well aware of the legacy they are stewarding.
“I want my kids to be able to bring their kids here,” said Wolter.
Indeed, at least one past program member -- Sam Pulvermacher -- is now on the board.
Other board members are Jason Smith, vice president; along with board members James Jacobs, Lee Nygaard and Kelly Johnson.
Where once the board had considered co-locating with the Crosby Community Center, said Wolter, they have since determined they are better off investing in the existing facility.
It’s served the community for eight decades and with some care, they believe it will be around for many years more.
Existing programs
The fall gymnastics program will start Sept. 15, with registration scheduled for Sept. 9.
About 100 children, age 4 to 13 are expected to sign up.
Gym memberships are also available and run October-September -- $275 per year for a family membership. Memberships may be purchased at J. Co. Drug.