Thursday, May 8, 2003

Mother of all YMCAs coming to Boone Co.

By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Through large glass windows, motorists on Veterans Way will be able to catch a glimpse of the activity inside the new Boone County Family YMCA.

The new Y, at Veterans and Ky. 18, will also try to blend in with surrounding Boone Woods Park by saving many of the trees.

"It was a very unique site," said Mike Hargis, vice president of design for Paul Hemmer Cos., which is building the Y.

And, like the site, the $7.5 million Y is expected to be unique among Tristate Y facilities.

"The pool facility will be different from anything else we have," said Jim Hull, facilities director for the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati.

The outdoor pool will be a mini-water park with a "zero depth" pool, spray deck with interactive fountains, and a 15-foot water slide.

"This one is special because of the arrangement with us and Boone County," said Hull, who is also the project manager for the new Y.

Under the agreement, Boone County residents will be able to use the pool even if they are not YMCA members. There will be a separate entry and changing area for the outdoor pool.

The Y is being built on county-owned land. The county agreed to buy two outdated YMCA facilities for $2.5 million. The county is also paying $500,000 for a larger pool to accommodate county residents.

In addition to the pool, the building itself will be state of the art, Hull said. The 47,000-square-foot building will include an indoor lap pool, a double gymnasium, health and fitness complex, group exercise studio, a child watch area, family changing areas and community gathering spaces. It will be able to accommodate about 2,500 families. The building also will be built with growth in mind, able to expand 30 percent to 40 percent, Hargis said.

Hemmer expects to break ground early this summer and complete the structure by June 2004.

The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati is trying to raise $5.3 million for the new facility. Members of the Tri-City YMCA will have their memberships transferred to the new Y when it opens.

For information or to join the YMCA, call 371-4680.


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