Mall Water Damage Keeps Gym Closed

ST. JOHNSBURY - Nearly a week after a ruptured underground pipe flooded stores at the Green Mountain Mall on Memorial Drive, and a secondary burst of a repaired pipe, Kingdom Gymnastics remained closed Monday.

The facility, located in the rear-left part of the mall next to Ocean State Job Lots, suffered massive damage after a water main under a loading dock behind the business ruptured on the night of Feb. 3.

Crews said flooding varied in sections of the mall, but some stores found nearly a foot of water. Problems got worse for the business when pressure testing caused the repaired pipe to burst again on Wednesday night, bringing in additional water.

The business has about 225 enrolled gymnasts - but now, all in-house programs are on hiatus.

Co-owner Donna Reed told News 7 that she estimates there's over $20,000 in damaged equipment.

Reed has been seeking volunteers to help clean up the mess through their Facebook page, and is hoping for donations of industrial trash bags, antibacterial wipes, rags and cleaning products. So far, she says, the support has been overwhelming.

"Everytime I turn to the door, there were people from my church coming," Reed said. "There were my neighbors, former gymnastics families - people just coming in with shop bags, extension cords; people have been coming by with rags and baby whipes...disinfectant, food. Its just been amazing."

Kingdom Gymnastics has also launched an online fundraising campaign. Donors have the opportunity to select an amount they'd like to give, from $10 to $1,000.

As of midday Monday, the campaign had totaled $3,355 - more than half of its $5,000 goal.

T-shirts reading "Kingdom Gymnastics Strong" have also been made, and are being sold as an additional effort to raise rebuilding funds.