Indoor Recreation of Orleans County or IROC is a 54,000-square-foot fitness facility completed in 2005 that serves Orleans and Northern Essex counties, 14 communities in all. There is a multipurpose sports arena that had originally been planned as a hockey rink, pool and plenty of workout space. It is the place where people come to recreate and socialize. But that is about to end, because from the start there were financial problems.
"We started in the hole from day one. When this place was built, it was over $3 million in debt. And we have gotten somewhat out of the hole, but we can almost see the top of the hole, but we are not quite there yet," said Phil White of IROC.
So, the operating budget was slashed and more fundraising efforts launched in the past two years, including a thrift store being run in the lobby.
"So, we started it small and its generating about $1,000 a month in additional income we didn't have before, and it's staffed by volunteer Pam Lads," White said.
IROC has left no stone unturned when it comes to fundraising, from the thrift store in the lobby to the used book sale, but the $1.4 million financial nut has proven just too big to crack. Time has run out for IROC. The last day of operation will be Easter Sunday.
News of the closing has hit hard.
"We are heartbroken; we have come here every day this month, every day," said Megan Lagasse who works out at IROC.
Sharon Stewart is a fitness instructor who volunteers at IROC.
"Yeah, well, I have been an instructor for 30 years and it's sad. What do you do? I teach classes all over town, but I have grown up here, my kids have grown up here, the community is here. It is very sad," Stewart said.
The Vermont Economic Development Agency or VEDA even looked into refinancing IROC, but the application was rejected.
WCAX News contacted Bill Stenger at Jay Peak who is spearheading a big economic development job for Newport about including an IROC bailout. He told us, "The IROC financial formula is not a successful one and we cannot provide a bailout."
IROC even added solar panels to cut down on the cost of propane. The solar vendor called WCAX News Friday afternoon to say he has yet to be paid for his work.
"Once the doors shut, we lose control of our fate. So, our hope is if there is any way to come up with the financing necessary to allow us or somebody to make a good faith offer to the bank to buy out the note, that we could keep going," White said.
But it looks like there will be no Easter miracle for IROC, despite all the efforts.
White says even If IROC closes, planned summer events will go on as scheduled.
Thursday, April 17 2014 6:52 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:52:04 GMT
Police say two people found dead at a home in Stowe are believed to have died in a murder-suicide. Police are still not releasing their names or the cause of death, but they say the victims are adults. StoweMore >>
A Stowe couple is dead after what police say was a murder-suicide. The news came as a shock to neighbors who say they never noticed any red flags. More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:58:26 GMT
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury. Timothy Foley did appear in court Thursday in Middlebury. He wasn't there last time,More >>
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:26:34 GMT
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to...More >>
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to 12 months.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:16 GMT
A teenager has been arrested for making a bomb threat in St. Albans. Police say the threat was made to Project SOAR, an alternative school, Wednesday morning. The building was searched and no bomb wasMore >>
Police say a teenager has been arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat to an alternative school in St. Albans.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:01 GMT
A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington. Police say Grace Maddaloni, 88, disappeared Wednesday after what they called a "disagreement." Because of her age and being in theMore >>
A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 7:07 PM EDT2014-04-17 23:07:19 GMT
IBM and chip production may soon be parting ways. The Wall Street Journal reports that Big Blue is looking to unload three chipmaking plants-- two in upstate New York and its Vermont plant in Essex Junction.More >>
With indications IBM may sell off its chipmaking plants, we talked to the company experts say may buy them. GlobalFoundries already has employees working at IBM in Essex Junction through a partnership, and experts say that could help the company decide whether the plant is a worthy investment.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:04 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:04:45 GMT
Darn Tough appears to be making a darn good profit. The high-end sock manufacturer out of Northfield reports the first quarter of this year was its best ever, with revenues up almost 80 percent over theMore >>
Vermont sock manufacturer Darn Tough reports the first quarter of this year was its best ever.More >>