By Ed Harris
The Southington YMCA will use a $900,000 grant from the State Bond Commission to renovate its pool. Since its installation in 1968, the pool has only received minimal renovations, funded from the YMCA reserves.
“This is such a critical resource for our community,” YMCA Executive Director John Myers said about the pool. “Almost every kid in town has learned to swim there.”
The grant money from the state will allow the YMCA to enhance handicap accessibility with a new elevator, install a three-sided upper observation area, upgrade the HVA and air handling system and install new lighting, pool level bathroom and showers, ceiling, sound system, room office space and additional storage space.
Myers said that the YMCA still had to go out to bid on the pool restoration project and they were looking to proceed with as minimal disruption as possible. Myers said the $900,000, along with $300,000 from the Barnes Trust, would allow the YMCA to complete the entire pool project at once.
He expects work to begin sometime in the fall.
These state funds were requested to provide assistance to the YMCA for its ongoing construction projects, currently in the third of four phases. The initial fundraising for these renovations and upgrades began in 2012, with construction during the first two phases including a parking lot repaving and enhancement and renovation to the locker rooms.
The fourth and final piece of the project will be a 10,000 sq. ft. all-purpose gymnasium. The entire campaign will cost $3.5 million, of which $1.5 million has been raised – in addition to the state funding – through Friends of the Y, the community, and local corporate donations.
“We worked really hard to secure this funding for the Southington YMCA,” said House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz (D-Southington/Berlin), in a press release. “The YMCA is a hub for all members of the community and this funding will give the facility the necessary improvements so it can continue to provide a safe and fun place for people of all ages to enjoy.”
The funds allocated to the YMCA were part of a grant-in-aid and loan program for various urban development projects through the Department of Economic and Community Development. Other projects funded through this program included economic and community development, transportation, environmental protection, public safety, and children and families and social service projects. At the bond meeting last Friday, a total of just over $9 million was approved to be allocated across the state for these kinds of projects.
“The most rewarding of my job as a state representative is bringing needed funding back to my community,” said Southington state Rep. Dave Zoni (D-Southington), in a release. “The YMCA is an integral part of Southington’s community offering many positive programs for every age group.”