New ‘Y’ creates an exciting health corridor in the city

After years of planning, replanning, revising and fundraising, it looks as the though the construction of the new YMCA on Park Avenue is almost ready to start.

The $10 million facility to be built on Park Avenue and accessed primarily off Walnut Street will be a modern multi-faceted building that will be the neighbor to the modernized Williamsport Regional Medical Center.

The combination will give the city a health corridor and revitalized neighborhood in an area that formerly contained residences in various conditions. It may not be what everyone wants, but the eye test never lies and the area clearly will be improved when the building is complete.

Construction costs are estimated at $8 million and almost $7 million has been raised through donations, proceeds from the Y’s downtown property sale and market tax credits. Another $750,000 has been contributed by various foundations.

By the fall of 2014, the YMCA will have a modern facility encompassing an area between High Street and Park Avenue and Walnut Street and Green Street.

It will be an exciting culmination for the supporters of the Y who have worked very hard to turn this plan into a reality.

Left behind is a facility whose original construction dates to the 1920s. Much of that facility has become inefficient and costly to operate.

The next intriguing question will be what becomes of that structure and others on the Y complex as the city’s Destination 2014 project moves from the dream phase to the planning stage. The project is full of great potential that is matched by question marks.

Until there is a working plan that makes sense and passes muster with all government bodies, Destination 2014 is just a catchy phrase. Let’s hope the phrase soon matches the exciting reality of the new YMCA on Park Avenue.