Wednesday, November 29, 2000

YWCA celebrates renewed building

'We restored it to its former glory'

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        After a $7.4 million campaign and a much-needed face lift, staff at the historic downtown YWCA will host an opening celebration tonight to commemorate the building's renovation.

        The official, invitation-only celebration from 5:30-7:30 p.m. will include guided tours of the Y, built in 1928 at Ninth and Walnut streets.

[photo] Charlene Ventura, executive director of the YWCA Cincinnati, in the revamped lobby in the organization's downtown building.
(Gary Landers photos)
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        The tours will highlight the renovated fitness center and pool, a new child-care center, the restored Women's Art Gallery and expanded office space.

        “We restored it to its former glory of 1928,” Executive Director Charlene Ventura said.

        The capital campaign — and the restoration of the building itself — is a symbol of the YWCA's commitment to stay in the downtown area.

        “The capital campaign, conduc ted by and for women, reflects our commitment to remain in the heart of our urban community and preserve our architectural heritage,” Ms. Ventura said.

        Entertainment celebrating women in music will be performed by Cincinnati bluegrass musicians Katie Laur, Ma Crow and Trina Emig on the first floor and jazz pianist Billie Van Winkle on the second floor.

[photo] Artist Hei-Kyung Byun touches up her sculpture, “Content,” in the art gallery of the newly refurbished YWCA in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday.
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        Titled “Building for Women a Foundation of Trust,” the campaign kicked off in 1996 under the leadership of co-chairs Francie Garber Pepper, Patricia Mann Smitson and Marian Spencer.

        The $7.4 million raised first funded the purchase and renovation of a new battered-women's shelter that tripled the capacity of the former Alice Paul House.

        “We always had a waiting list,” spokeswoman Robyn Carey Wilson said. “We used to be able to house only 20 women and chil dren, and now we can house up to 60.”

        Six transitional living apartments for women and their children also were renovated.

        The additional downtown space will help YWCA staff respond to the needs of women with a variety of programs, from preparing for GED tests to job readiness.

       For information about the YWCA and its programs, call 241-7090.


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