YMCA looks to community for funds to build new facility

Published 8:59 am Monday, March 22, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- With the kick off of a public community fundraising campaign, the new Niles-Buchanan YMCA facility comes one step closer to beginning construction.
The $9.6 million project is being financed through a massive fundraising effort and the YMCA board of directors is expecting construction to begin this summer with a grand opening anticipated for September 2005.
The YMCA board of directors has been very successful thus far and hopes this public fundraising phase will put them over the top.
Before publicly announcing the new YMCA, a capital campaign committee raised more than $7 million through a quiet, behind-the-scenes fundraising campaign. This money was raised from a combination of donations, a 20-year lease with Lakeland Hospital for the rehabilitation center space and an estimated amount from the sale of the old YMCA property.
The board of directors have also made a considerable impact by putting its money where its mouth is.
The 18 members of the board have donated $490,000 out of their own pockets toward the new facility.
Bret Hendrie, executive director of the Niles-Buchanan YMCA, said the entire full time staff and a number of part time employees have also shown their support through donations.
YMCA officials are extremely pleased with the community's support so far, but are still seeking donations for the new facility.
Hendrie and the board of directors want to let the public know that the YMCA's fundraising efforts are back in full swing after taking a few months of at the end of 2003. The YMCA ceased the fundraising campaign to honor its relationship with the United Way, which raises a majority of its funds at the end of the year.
There are currently more than 50 volunteers using phone calls and personal meetings to recruit more community members to make donations.
YMCA officials are excited about the prospects of the new facility and think the 70,000 square foot building, to be located at the intersection of Front and Pokagon Streets in Niles, will be a great asset to the Niles-Buchanan area.
Hendrie said the new building will be a major improvement over their existing facility and said it is a necessary step to better serve our community.
The new Niles-Buchanan YMCA building will feature several major improvements including a more community friendly environment, a rehabilitation center to address community health care needs, a large indoor swimming pool, a therapeutic swimming pool and a fitness/wellness center to name a few.
Watch for project updates and donor lists in upcoming editions of the Niles Daily Star.
For anyone interested in donating or volunteering for the fundraising campaign, please call the Niles-Buchanan YMCA at (269) 683-1552.