By John DeCoste
A minor basketball coach would like to see the former Kings County Academy gym open for full community access once Aldershot elementary students return to their renovated home.
"Over the past few years," Fred Cumby said last week, "things have turned around in Kentville," and with the opening of the new KCA, "everything is trying to get squeezed into the new school."
Currently, Aldershot students are using the old KCA while their school is undergoing renovations, which are expected to be complete later this year.
Cumby, who has been involved with minor sport locally for several years, believes the old school's gym and adjacent cafeteria space "is essential to developing kids and future athletes for our area."
In a Jan. 10 letter to Kentville chief administrative officer Mark Phillips, he stressed parents are looking for assurances the community will have access to the gym once the Aldershot students return to their school.
As well, parents want community access to the facility to continue, "if and when the Town of Kentville accepts ownership of the building and property, later on in the process."
Cumby points out over the past several years, the old school's gym has been used for events such as indoor golf sessions, March Break and Christmas camps, tournaments, multi-sport days and volleyball clinics.
"If, and when, the school is no longer accessible (to the community)," he suggested, "most of these valuable opportunities will just go away."
Cumby told Phillips in his Jan. 10 communication, "it is important a protocol or process be established with the school board to keep the (KCA) gym accessible (to the community) when Aldershot relocates."
He would also like to see a long-term plan in place for future use of the space.
"It is important public meetings be held with community groups who could benefit from the space, and who could financially support it.
"We realize all the answers are not easy," he said, "but a commitment is needed from the town to indicate that the overall goal is continued use of this space for the ongoing benefit of the community."