Prince George residents will have a new place to hang around this spring.
After nearly three years of planning, OVERhang owner Lauren Phillips signed a lease Thursday with the Prince George Golf and Curling Club to set up a brand new indoor climbing gym.
The OVERhang (Outdoor Vertical Education Recreation) Climbing Gym and Adventure Education Centre is slated for a March 2013 opening in the former racquet court wing of the club.
Prior to signing the eight-year commitment, Phillips said there was a lot of back and forth with the Recreation Place facility while they dealt with securing their own future, which includes the addition of the Prince George Tennis Club.
In the spring, the city signed off on a plan to relocate the tennis club to the site northwest of the golf club's main facility. The $1.6 million move and clubhouse upgrade will be covered by the sale of the tennis club lands.
"They needed to know they had a future in their building and their space, financially and otherwise, before committing to signing a long-term lease with us," Phillips said.
The five courts and associated areas will include climbing spaces for beginners, more advanced climbers, group programming space for parties or school groups as well as indoor playground for small children.
"Climbing is for everybody. Some people hear a climbing gym and think it's for kids, but that's really not the case," said Phillips, who picked up rock climbing after a year spent in Chile. "It's for professionals coming after work, whole families. Climbing is very inclusive."
There has not been a dedicated indoor climbing gym in the city for about a decade, since the closure of the Crag Indoor Climbing Wall. The YMCA and - until last years fire - Ness Lake Bible Camp have both featured climbing walls.
There will also be classroom space where Phillips and husband Dean Price - director of the Prince George Search and Rescue Society - can facilitate their outdoor adventure or training courses.
"It's very exciting. I feel a little numb and then I keep jumping around and having little excited moments," Phillips said, adding she was in the process of letting a lot of people who have been waiting for some time to hear the good news.
Subject to permits and design and construction schedules, Phillips is hoping to open the gym by the spring, but is open to taking bookings for the summer.
"We're working together with the golf and curling club and the other partners that are coming into the building, like the tennis club, on rebranding that whole facility so that people understand it is a recreation facility," Phillips said.
For upcoming information on the facility, visit www.overhang.ca.