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Chalet Renovation Update December 2016

For the past two years, there has been some very quiet work behind the scenes as we move forward with a significant renovation and expansion of our beloved Thom Storm Chalet.  This email is designed to give an update on our progress and an idea of what we are working on moving forward.  We also have great volunteer opportunities coming up soon, and will need your help!  This is a long post, but please read through to the end for full information on the project!

After the City of Duluth passed the Chester Park Mini-Master plan in November 2014, our Chester Bowl Improvement Club (CBIC) Board of Directors and Development Committee began researching the feasibility of expanding our Chalet. 

If you have been in the chalet on a busy ski day, you know we are at our capacity for use!  Our programs continue to grow, without any advertising, and we need more space for participants to be during programming. This is also true for our summer day camp, where we have had to cap enrollment well below interest levels; even though kids are outside 95% of the time, we need a safe indoor space for when we have inclement weather.  The building is extremely energy inefficient, and different spaces in the building are often too hot and too cold simultaneously.  There are significant upcoming maintenance needs.  And the Chalet is not compliant with ADA accessibility standards. We couldn’t even host our own public meetings here because the only access to the upper level is by stairs.  For these reasons, and many more, we are pursuing a significant renovation and expansion of the Thom Storm Chalet.

Working with LHB Architects, who have been providing their services free of charge (thank you LHB!) we held a series of public meetings and events to get feedback on what our community’s needs are for a renovated building and to create a preliminary design plan for the building. This plan was approved by the City of Duluth Parks Commission, and has been presented to staff of the Planning Department.   You can review the plan online at http://www.chesterbowl.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/150582-CBIC-Drawings-041216.pdf.

We also recruited our Capital Campaign Leadership Team, which is responsible for leading the rest of the project through to building completion and celebration.  This group has been meeting weekly since October (at 7 am!) to determine our final project cost and put together the plan for raising the funds necessary.  They will lead fundraising, the completion of construction ready design plans with LHB, the construction of the building with our contractors, and the celebration of our completed chalet.  This group of committed volunteers includes Fundraising Co-Chairs Corbin Smyth and Curt Leitz, Communications Chair Jordan Milan, and Building Design Chair Deb Kellner, supported by Executive Director Dave Schaeffer.  If you see them around town, please say “Thank you!”

So, what’s next?  The biggest question we get asked is, “When will construction start?”.  We know that we will time it so that we do not miss a winter season, but we do not have a start date at this time; it depends on the speed of success of our capital campaign.  The earliest we anticipate possible construction is Spring 2018, but it is much more likely that construction would begin in 2019 or 2020.  We will start the “quiet” phase of the campaign early in 2017, soliciting donations from our largest potential individual donors and corporate sponsors.  You won’t hear much from us during this time, until we start up our public campaign six months to a year later. 

For this first phase, we need a few more volunteers in several key roles.  We are looking to recruit people to be directly involved in fundraising, soliciting donations from corporations, individuals, and our Chester Bowl community at large, and grantwriting.  These first positions would be directly involved in the planning of our public outreach campaign in their specific focus area.  We also need several “party planners” to help plan and implement special events during the duration of the campaign, with the first likely to be in March 2017.  Please reply directly to Dave at dave@chesterbowl.org if you are interested in these roles, or call him at 724-9832 for more details on the positions.

If these are not a fit for you, please know there will be many other ways to help out over the next few years.  We are counting on all of you- our Chester Bowl Community- to help us make this vision a reality.  All volunteer hours spent with our campaign count towards your family’s winter program volunteer commitment. 

Thank you for reading all the way to the end, and thank you for your support. 

Dave and the Capital Campaign Leadership Team

Fall Adventure Program 2016

We are excited to offer our Fall Adventure Program on October 20 and 21st, over MEA break.  We had so much fun over the summer that we can’t wait to do it again!

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Registration opens on September 6th, and the $55 cost covers both days.  Payment must be included with registration, and scholarships are available.

Full details are in the registration packet, which you can download here.   As always, we promise to return your children tired, happy, and dirty!

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Key volunteers needed!

Chalet in fall

We need your help!

The Thom Storm Chalet is in need of an expansion and a complete renovation.   Our board and several volunteer committees have been working on the planning stages for well over a year, but our most challenging tasks remain- raising over $1 million dollars and facilitating the final design of the building.  We are confident that we can achieve these goals with the help of a Leadership Team that we are recruiting to coordinate the rest of the project.  Two Fundraising Co-Chairs, a Communications Chair, and a Building Design chair will be supported by the Executive Director as they lead this campaign.  These are key volunteer roles that are essential to our campaign success, and we are taking them as seriously as hiring new employees; that’s why we have implemented an application process.

Please check out our volunteer recruitment packet for more details, including a more detailed summary of the project, volunteer job descriptions (with estimated time commitments), a timeline, and more.  The preliminary building design plans are found here, with an exterior rendering below. We welcome phone calls for additional information (218-724-9832).

chalet drawing

Do you have the skills and talents to help us continue our positive impact on the families of Duluth for generations to come?  Please consider applying to be part of our Leadership Team.  To apply, simply send a cover letter and resume to Dave Schaeffer by email at dave@chesterbowl.org or by mail to 1801 East Skyline Parkway, Duluth, MN 55812.  Applications are accepted through September 16th, with volunteers selected and starting work shortly afterwards.

In recognition of the significant volunteer commitment of the Capital Campaign Leadership Team, the selected volunteers will receive priority registration for their immediate family for programming (including the Summer Adventure Program) and free season passes and rentals for themselves and their immediate family during our winter ski/snowboard season.

If this is not a fit for you as a volunteer, who do you know that may be a fit for one of these key roles?  Please give them a call and suggest it today!  If you would like to volunteer for the capital campaign, but not in one of these key volunteer roles, please contact Dave Schaeffer at the contact information above. Once the Leadership Team is assembled, they will be looking to fill dozens of volunteer positions within the capital campaign.

 

In memory of Jonathan Swanson

Today we honor the memory of Jonathan Swanson.  Jonathan, 38, passed away on Friday, August 5th.  Jonathan learned to ski at Chester Bowl when 3 or 4 years old, and has been a fixture here almost ever since.  He was first hired by Thom Storm at 16 years old as a lift operator and ski instructor, and has continued to work at Chester Bowl ever over the years.  He was the friendly face at the race starting point and a lift operator as recently as two winters ago, and also spent hours in the summers waxing the skis for the next season.  Jonathan also spent many summers with the summer program.

We are saddened to hear of his passing, and share our condolences with his many friends and family.

You can read his full obituary at this link.   His memorial service is this Friday.

 

Chester Summer Adventure Program OPEN July 21

The Summer Adventure Program IS OPEN today. We do not have power in the building, but we are able to operate programming. We will NOT be heading to Park Point today, and will stay in the park instead. Please use common sense and keep safety in mind when choosing whether or not to attend camp today. There is some debris on Skyline, but camp seems to be accessible from both the east and the west.

Donation made in memory of DJ Battle

We are very grateful to have received a $2200 donation in memory of DJ Battle.  DJ learned to ski here as a child, and received a scholarship to do so. This donation was made specifically to our scholarship fund to pass this opportunity on to the next generation of young children who will grow up skiing at Chester Bowl.  Thank you so much to everyone who was involved, either by directly donating funds (there were 68 individual donors!), helping to organize the fundraiser, or spreading the word.  We are deeply grateful!

As an incentive to give, one donor was chosen randomly to receive this beautiful handcrafted quilt!

You can learn more about DJ at https://www.gofundme.com/8xu3rf84.  Pictured below, left to right, are Kathleen Davey (the quiltmaker), Dave Schaeffer (CBIC Director), Beth Bombardier (DJ’s godmother), Sam Luoma (CBIC Program Manager), and Jackie Battle (DJ’s mom).

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