The future of the Vista PAL Boxing Club hangs in the balance

Posted at 4:26 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 18:26:53-05

BOISE, Idaho — The Vista PAL Boxing Club opened in 1970, but the future of this club geared towards Treasure Valley youth is uncertain because of the pandemic and rising real estate costs.

Zachary Lopez joined the club when he was a kid, years later, he became a coach, and now he owns the club.

"It's kind of funny how many of us grew up and are still in the sport," said Lopez. "Victory or defeat it is learning."

The club has leased a building on Franklin Road through a partnership with Fred Meyer since 1985, but earlier this year, Fred Meyer informed the club they were planning on selling the land where the gym is.

"Fred Meyer has been a huge support for us over the years," said Lopez. "Real estate is booming, and they have sold the land to another business."

The Vista PAL Boxing Club has been working to find a new building to lease, then they were hit by the pandemic, and they closed down to keep the kids safe.

Rising real estate prices and the uncertainty of COVID-19 creates doubt about the future even if they do find a new location.

"If COVID shuts us down, that could bankrupt me, and I don't know that we could do that as much as I love the sport," said Lopez.

Lopez told us the gym provides a place for families that don't have a lot of money, the club charges kids ten dollars a month, including equipment, training and coaching.

The club is currently looking at three different possibilities on a new location, but if the costs go up, so do membership dues.

"My biggest fear is going to be the cost of the lease just with the changing of real estate and what it is going to be," said Lopez. "If I have to pass that cost on, so many kids are not going to be able to do it and not be involved."

The Vista PAL Boxing Club is not going down without a fight as they will be working to create fundraisers and do what they can to move their gym to a new location.

This gym made a difference to so many kids on the Boise Bench, now it sits empty as the club moved all the equipment into storage.

"It is sad you can get emotional looking at it, but hopefully it is an indication of bigger and better things moving forward," said Lopez.