ALEDO — The Mercer County Family YMCA is planning $4 million in renovations as early as next spring, according to CEO Sarah Brown.
The planned renovations will double the square footage of the facility. So far, donors have pledged $2.7 million in less than a year, leaving $1.3 million to be raised.
"Our volunteers have worked very hard. ... This has moved pretty quickly. This is the best thing that's happened to Mercer County, and I am so happy to be apart of this program," Brown said.
Additions will include an auxiliary gym, kids' gym, wellness center and weight room, family changing center, intergenerational room, meeting and educational rooms, expanded lobby/entrance, serving/teaching kitchen, and additional parking.
Brown said the conversation about expansion began in 2016 when the need to expand the weight room came up..
Erica Hajny, associate executive director, said the renovations are a direct result of surveys completely by community members in 2016. She said the survey asked residents, "What services do you think aren't met in Mercer County?"
- Critical needs in the community mentioned by residents included:
- A growing senior population with an active lifestyle.
- Youth programming in the arts, trades, technology and life skills.
- Programs to address youth obesity, arthritis management, cancer survival, diabetes prevention, and more.
- A gathering place to bring the entire community together and break down barriers.
Following a feasibility study in summer 2018, the campaign was launched.
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The current facility was built in 1992. Prior to that, the YMCA has been located since the 1960s in downtown Aledo above Aledo City Hall.
In 1994, the Mercer County Family YMCA received its own charter from the national YMCA organization. Previously, it had been a branch of the Warren County YMCA.
“We are one of the smallest YMCAs in the country that’s independent. This is a big deal," said Brown.
So far, the YMCA’s Capital Campaign Steering Committee has raised funds only by asking for contributions. “Individuals have stepped up,” said Brown.
She said donors make donations at the YMCA, 401 S.W. 2nd Ave. Other ways people can give include estate gifts, gifts in kind, retirement account transfers, life insurance, and charitable remainder annuity trust. All of these include tax-time benefits for the contributor.
Brown hopes to break ground by spring 2020, pending funds raised, and complete construction within 12 to 14 months.
The facility will remain open during construction.