Part One of the YMCA renaissance reaches construction

So Part One is going pretty well.

We speak of the new YMCA planned just south of the Susquehanna Health complex in Williamsport, where ground was broken last week.

Even as ceremonial shovels were turned for the new facility to house the Y’s recreation, health and social services programs, earth was being moved in the background.

With all of the preliminary groundclearing at Walnut Street and Park Avenue done, it’s easy to envision how perfectly the size, location and usage of the new YMCA will fit into the neighborhood and the city.

A big salute is due all who contributed to the fundraising necessary for this project.

As for Part Two, reuse of the block where the YMCA is now, that appears to be in a holding pattern.

The plans are exciting:

Liberty Arena, an expanded indoor multi-purpose facility.

Demolition of middle section of the “Y” building for conversion into a conference center.

Additional space for retail opportunities; a town square that may include a restaurant, benches, a fountain and town clock.

Unfortunately, a key piece of financing, a $12 million federal grant application, lost out in the funding competition for this fall.

While consultants to the project view the loss as a minor setback, until the money is in hand the project is just a dream.

The financial hurdles for the new YMCA were eventually overcome.

Hopefully, the same will happen for the fresh vision planned in the downtown block bordered by West Fourth, Hepburn, West Third and Elmira streets.