The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

April 8, 2013

Filling a need

Orleans County YMCA capital campaign kicks off

By HOWARD BALABAN
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — The Orleans County YMCA officially kicked off its capital campaign for Phase II Friday evening on a basketball court.

Once Phase II is complete, that court will have been relocated, and the place community members gathered on Friday will be a brightly lit lobby.

Dean Bellack, YMCA Board President, said Friday night marked an important first step.

“For me, this is just the start,” he said. “The real work begins now.”

Bellack said he is confident the continued community support for the YMCA will help the organization reach its financial goals.

“We have a $400,000 goal, and we have $200,000 pledged now,” he stated. Plans are underway to begin Phase II construction this summer. Phase I is already complete. It included a new roof, a new lighting system, and the passage village legislation that tripled parking on Pearl Street by creating a one-way street.

Phase II of the YMCA project includes a tremendous amount of inside work, along with the addition of handicap accessible ramp on the east side of the building that will also become the YMCA’s main entrance.

Also on tap to be added are first floor bathrooms, a new lobby area, and a group exercise room, among other improvements.

“This project is really needed for our community,” Bellack said. “We affect one in six people in Orleans County, and I think that once this is complete we’ll see our membership grow even further with a more user-friendly building.”

The drive to reach the financial goal will likely last for a few months, according to Lance Mark. As the chair of the capital campaign for the YMCA, Mark said optimistically that he would like to announce the campaign has hit its goal “sometime in June.”

Mark said the campaign is being done one a more personal level than just blanket mailings. “We’re trying to contact people and give a presentation to them individually to explain why this project is important for the community,” Mark explained.

At Friday’s kickoff, New York State Senator George Maziarz spoke and mentioned how the Orleans County YMCA is a vital center for the community. Mark agreed.

“I think he hit the nail on the head: This is the community center for this area because there really is no other facility like this locally that offers the services we do,” Mark said.

“Initially, you think of the ‘Y’ as a place to go play basketball, but there are so many other programs her for all ages, from children to senior citizens,” he added. “If we didn’t have this, where would those people go?”

While Phase I’s completion ensured the YMCA is both structurally sound and up to modern building standards, Phase II will be the aspect of the capital project that people are more likely to embrace, Mark suggested.

“I think people want to identify with a facility that is bright and welcoming, and that’s what we’re shooting for,” Mark said. “When it’s done, I think this will become, in my opinion, a first class facility that people will want to be a part of.”

Bellack added the YMCA’s location in an historic building makes it unique, and the completion of Phase II will keep the YMCA servicing the community for years to come.