YMCA looks for permanent home in Union County

WESLEY CHAPEL – After opening their 5,000-square-foot facility in Wesley Chapel, the YMCA is now looking for a larger, more permanent home in Union County.

While the organization hasn’t announced any leads on a location for the new facility, they are focused on building somewhere along the Providence Road corridor according to YMCA Community Vice President Steve Bowers.

“Ultimately, long term we will have multiple YMCAs in Union County. But our first flag we are trying to plant is along the Providence corridor,” he said.

No date has been set for announcing a new location, but Bowers hopes to see a decision made within the next month. The YMCA discussed potential plans with all the towns and municipalities in Union County over the last six years to gauge the need in different areas and where the best location for the new facility would be. Recently, YMCA leaders attended the Feb. 22 council retreat in Weddington to discuss the issue with town leaders.

“Everything that we have ever received has been warm welcoming for the Y to be a part of their community,” Bowers said.  “It’s just a matter of us finding the right location for us to be successful.”

The YMCA has looked at many locations throughout Union County, but Bowers said for one reason or another they have not worked out.

“We’ve been out there and have had a number of looks at different properties, so we are really focused on getting this thing off of the ground,” he said.

YMCA leadders have not decided what to do with the facility in Wesley Chapel, which was originally planned to be a temporary location. Bowers said it depends on where the new facility is located and how successful the Wesley Chapel YMCA is at the time.  If the new location is close to Wesley Chapel the current location will be closed, but if the new location is not near Wesley Chapel and the current location is still seeing high participation it will remain open.

After finding the right location for the Union County YMCA, the organization will begin fundraising and hopes to collect around $5 million to $8 million for the new facility.  According to Bowers they have a good chunk of that lined up.

“We already have a $2 million commitment from a local business person, so that is definitely a beautiful start for other folks to get involved and make it their own Y,” he said.

Although the YMCA has talked about opening multiple locations throughout the county, discussions for other YMCA locations in Union County have been stalled until the new facility is up and running.  Opening new facilities in the future will be based on opportunities given to the YMCA and the needs of the communities throughout Union County.

Bowers hopes to make an announcement on the new location and its opening date by the end of 2013, if not sooner.  “We are looking forward to being able to sell our new location,” he said.

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