Construction of new YMCA to begin in June

Construction of the new YMCA on Park Avenue could begin as early as June, according to David Fagerstrom, the CEO of River Valley Regional YMCA.

There was mostly praise for the project Monday as the land development plan for the $10 million facility, to be built on Park Avenue, and accessed primarily off Walnut Street went before the Williamsport Planning Commission.

Construction costs are estimated at $8 million, and the commission recommended approval of a conditional use permit for the construction to begin.

“We’re almost at $7 million through donations, proceeds of the downtown property and the net from market tax credits,” Fagerstrom said following the meeting in a telephone interview.

Among the gifts, was a $1 million contribution from Ron and Rosie Cimini. Another $750,000 has been contributed by various foundations, Fagerstrom said.

Asked how long construction by general contractor J.B. Gibbons would take, Fagerstrom did not hesitate in his response.

“Once we get going it will take 12 months,” he said. “We anticipate being done by the fall of 2014.”

The YMCA is planning to hold open houses and a membership drive before a grand opening with the community and stakeholders invited.

“It’s going to be a more modernized facility because parts of the existing one were built in the 1920s,” said Marvin Staiman, commission chairman, after the commission recommended approval of two YMCA requests Monday.

The development will encompass an area between High Street and Park Avenue and Walnut Street and Green Street.

“It’s going to be a building that is more adaptable to the community,” Staiman said.

Staiman also said the commission has welcomed its proximity to Williamsport Regional Medical Center, should emergencies arise.

Issues of traffic entering from an alley was part of the commission discussion.

“The alley City Councilman Jonathan Williamson asked the commission to review on the land development will be one-way north between Park Avenue and High Street,” said John Grado, city engineer and director of community and economic development. “Main access to the YMCA will be from Walnut Street.”

A second reading before council on the vacating a street and alleys in the development area will occur May 2.