Posted 10 months ago
By John P Tretbar
As of Friday they had reached more than 50% of their fundraising goal.
YMCA Board President Paul Bainter told reporters Friday the campaign will make a significant investment in the Downtown Family Y Facility.
It will also provide an additional Y Family Program Center at the New “St. Joseph Community Campus”.
Buchanan County is providing 8 acres of land and the City of St. Joseph will share the infrastructure costs for the new campus. Bainter announced that Kansas State University Coach Bill Snyder has agreed to act as Honorary Co-Chairperson for the Campaign.
Bainter says the Y has paid-off the infrastructure loan on the Downtown Y, a $660,000 investment. He also announced that as of Friday the community had raised $2,010,000 in gifts for the capital campaign. That’s more than 50% of their goal. They hope to break ground on the new campus this year.
Board Vice President Richard Sipe offered details of some benefits from the project.
“Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years,” Sipe said. “Buchanan County currently Ranks 112 out of 115 Counties for Health Risk Behaviors. Our New City Park will provide opportunities for families to walk, play, and have fun together. The Y will provide new and expanded programs to prevent and combat childhood obesity.”
With an estimated annual payroll of $2 million, the new Y will provide about 125 full and part-time jobs.
The Y’s CEO Mark Cartledge stressed several things in an interview. He pointed out that paying back the infrastructure loan to the city, and investing a lot more in the downtown facility, illustrates their commitment to the downtown Y.
“Both the new program center up north and the downtown facility are crucial, and part of a synergy that will soon become obvious to members and families in St Joseph,” Cartledge said. YMCA membership will include access to both facilities. Thus Cartledge says kids will be quick to notice that they have a swimming pool downtown, and some great facilities at the facility up north.
Cartledge says the downtown facility will remain the flagship of the Y, and the administrative staff will continue to work out of offices there.
He also pointed out that collaboration and partnership are now the way of the world, and have to be the way of St Joe. Cartledge says the partnership between local governments, the school district and the Y are critical.
“We don’t need two parking lots, two sets of rest rooms, two playgrounds and two pavillions. The partnership will allow us to build just one. And the Y will provide maintenance for all of that.”
The new facility will be located east of the Candlewood Suites Extended Stay Hotel north of the North Shoppes. It will include a one mile walking trail within the 26 acre city park.
You should contact Cartledge if you’d like to donate. He says they’re open to all donations, large and small, and he’s available to meet with any groups that might be interested to provide any information they might need.
You can call Cartledge at (816) 233-YMCA (9622).
Bainter urged members of the community support the campaign. He says the campaign is about achieving the Y’s Strategic Goal of; “assisting children and adults live longer, better and healthier lives by providing programs, services and activities to help combat obesity, inactivity, and chronic disease, with participation reaching 25% of the St. Joseph population.”