Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 22, 2017

A strong start to build a strong community YMCA

By David Hotle | Jul 21, 2017
David Mitchell, left, Ed Weeks, Rachel Nicola, Dave Stoufer and Amy Schulte during a check presentation on July 17.

 

As a way to kick off the capital campaign to fund a new building for the YMCA of Washington County, fundraising co-chairs Ed Weeks and Rachel Nicola with husband Dave Stoufer recently presented founding gifts of $500,000 each to be used for the building.

On July 17, the two checks for $500,000 were presented to YMCA of Washington County Board president David Mitchell and acting CEO Amy Schulte. To date, the capital campaign, which began in 2014, has raised $2,658,372, with $1,215,150 coming from staff, committee and board of directors. The current fundraising goal is $5 million. The remaining funds in the $9 million building project is anticipated to be raised through grant opportunities.

“We felt it was very important for us, as longtime members of the commiunity and longtime Y supporters, to demonstrate the strength of our feelings about the Y, and this project’s response to its current needs,” Nicola said this morning.

Weeks could not be reached for comment this morning, Nicola said Weeks has been key in promoting the project to construct the new building, as well as fundraising for the bulding and had approached her to promote the new building.

In May, the YMCA of Washington County board unveiled a new design for a building to replace the existing 92-year-old building located in the 100 block of East Main Street. A feasibility study on the facility found program spaces were too small for the growing membership and that there were several structural problems with the building. According to the survey, the building itself is structurally sound, but not Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant. The Y Board determined it would be more cost-effective to build a new building than to try to renovate the existing building.

With plans to break ground on the building in the summer of 2018, the Y Board has started a fundraising campaign called ‘Y - For a Better Us,’ to pay for the construction. The phased building plan is to complete a Phase 1 building with a $3 million Phase 2 addition as soon as fundraising efforts make it possible. The building’s design can also be expanded to include a third phase as well as other future expansions as needed. The plan is downsized from a previous $10.4 million plan.

Phase 1 of the project includes a full-size high school gymnasium that includes a spectator area, wellness center, two exercise rooms, youth room, and senior gaming area. The entrance will be on West Sixth Street and North D Avenue. The entrance was designed this way due to concerns about children having to cross the busy West Third to get to the facility.

A six-lane swimming pool is planned for Phase 2 of the project. While the Y board and staff understands the need for a pool, Schulte said, the result of input from the community was for the pool to be in the second phase of the project.

Schulte said in the past month, not including the gifts from the co-chairs, about $135,000 has been raised for the project. She said there are several campaigners out soliciting contributions to the project.

“With a project this size there are always going to be ups and downs,” Schulte said. “I think the important thing is we have never backed down from it.”

She said the fundraising will be the key factor in when ground will be broken on the building. She said a key push in the capital campaign will be in the next six to eight weeks. She also said community events are being planned to help the campaign and will help get everyone involved.

“Our gifts are only a small part of the financial need to put together a building for a facility that is going to serve not only Washington but the entire population of the community,” Nicola said. “Someone needs to be first.”

More information on the project can be found online at www.buildwashingtonymca.com.

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