Thursday, September 11, 2003

West End to get new YMCA

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Officials for the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati announced Wednesday that the organization would break ground on a new $10-million facility in the West End early next year.

The 48,000-square-foot building will be named for Carl and Edyth Lindner, who donated $4.2 million toward its construction. The new YMCA, located at Linn and Derrick Turnbow streets, will be more than twice the size of the current building a block away on Ezzard Charles Drive.

YMCA officials kicked off a fund-raising campaign - "Transforming Our Community" - Wednesday at Great American Ball Park in hopes of collecting the remaining $5.8 million by year's end.

The city of Cincinnati has already donated a half-acre adjacent to the site, which will be used for parking.

YMCA officials said they hope the new facility, which has been in the planning stages since 1998, would act as a catalyst spurring more development in the neighborhood.

"It's been a long time coming," said Joe Calloway, executive director of the West End YMCA. "This is about creating a new attitude in the West End community. We want to give our kids some hope."

The new YMCA will be located in and around the former Washburn School - a property that was purchased from Cincinnati Public Schools.

The YMCA and the Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy, a charter school of about 450 students, will have joint ownership of the building.

Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy would operate on the second, third and fourth floors, while the YMCA would operate on the first floor and build a new facility beside the school to house indoor lap and play pools, an 8,000-square foot gymnasium, fitness center, computer labs, auditorium and community meeting rooms.

Barbara Hauser, a YMCA spokeswoman, said groundbreaking has been set for February.


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