Madison Heights Gymnastics Looking For New Home After Flood
(Mark H. Stowers, March 7, 2023)
Madison Heights, MI -Madison Heights Gymnastics is looking for a new home. After a flood, loss of equipment and now a loss of their space, the program needs help.
Amy Bessler, founder of the program, first started as a part-time office worker for the City of Madison Heights in 2015. A year later she started the gymnastics program in the basement of City Hall.
“It grew from four classes and 35 students in the first session to 20-plus classes averaging 250-plus students a week,” Bessler said. The program’s students mostly came from single parent and single-income households. “It is truly affordable – a whole six week of sessions for $45-80 for 40 minutes to six hours a week. There’s no membership or registration fees. It is a very unique program and the only gym that follows and competes under MHSAA rules in a 23-plus mile radius.”
She also utilized the space for birthday parties and open gyms.
But all of that came to a halt with a flood last September. The basement flooded and damaged more than $22,000 worth of equipment and thus shutting down the gym. And she hasn’t been able to afford the price to rent a gym space and is looking for any recommendations to help get her students and staff back together.
“The basement is still a worksite for the construction and renovation in the rest of the building and excess storage and we are fighting to get replacement equipment,” she said. “We lost $22,000 worth of equipment and now have had a loss of income along with my staff.”
As restoration continues, Bessler says, “The city has decided to utilize the space in another capacity and has asked us to be out by April. We are desperately looking for a new space that is affordable.”
“This is a much needed program for the community as other gyms in the area are double to quadruple the price,” she said. “We are like family. I drive students to class, go to school events, spend holidays with families and so much more. Without a community center in our city, it provides a safe, fun, diverse place for families. I get daily texts, emails and messages asking when I will be offering classes again.”
Bessler has been an MHSAA Gymnastics Judge for 22 years, and has been coaching in the Madison Heights area for more than 37 years. “Many former students have sought me out as adults to bring their own children to me,” she said. “Nearly all of my coaches are former students.”
“These families mean the world to me as I started my own journey in the program as a child,” Bessler said. “It was not offered for many years until my recent program. I’ve lived in the city most of my life and I will do whatever it takes to provide a program for them.”
To reach out with potential places, or just to learn more about the group, check them out on Facebook @Madison Heights Gymnastics.