By Mike Wertman
Medina Journal-Register — With memberships increasing and program offerings expanding, Orleans County YMCA officials over the past year have started taking major steps to upgrade and improve the historic armory building which serves as the organization’s home.
Last year Phase I of a capital campaign, which was highlighted by the installation of a new roof and interior lighting, was completed and paid for at a cost of $200,000.
YMCA officials are now embarking on Phase II of the capital campaign which will be highlighted by the installation of a new handicap accessible ramp and a new main entrance on the east side of the building.
The Phase II capital campaign, which will officially get under way with a kick-off event at 5 p.m. Friday at the YMCA — to which the community is invited, has a goal of $400,000 of which $200,000 has already been pledged.
“We need to create more accessibility to the building and make it more user friendly. It’s very much needed,” said YMCA board Chairman Dean Bellack. “We’ve worked very hard to get to this point. We’ve been on a nice momentum surge.”
Because of the building’s status on the National Register of Historic Places, the traditional main entrance on Pearl Street cannot be altered. Therefore, the new handicap accessible ramp and main entrance will be developed on the east side. That work will include a vestibule and a new expanded lobby area to include social areas.
“We want to make the first floor accessible to the entire community,” said YMCA Executive Director Jeff Winters. “The expanded lobby area will really give us a spot where people can socialize.”
Work on the first floor will also include the installation of two unisex bathrooms/showers, a child watch room for parents who utilize the facility, a group exercise room for aerobics and cycling and a teen center.
In addition, the development of the new entrance and lobby will also necessitate the renovation of the gymnasium which will remain the same size.
“We want to make sure all of our program space is used most efficiently and effectively,” said Winters who noted that the Y’s membership has now soared to 2,400. “Financially we’ve been in the black for two years and program wise we have an impact on one in six Orleans County residents. We’re a growing organization and we’re expanding to invoke the entire county. The Y is progressing and the community has really responded positively. We’re trying to be a center of the community. There is obviously a need in the community for these programs and we’re hopeful the community will again support us.”
The renovation work is expected to begin in early summer and be completed by the fall.