A YMCA in Sumner once existed only in dreams, but it’s about to become reality, thanks to $11.4 million in public investments.
“This has gone from what the community dreamed about to now as a site owned by the YMCA and a site being cleared,” Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow said. “I am just excited. We were lucky enough to find a site that was available to the Y with easy access to Sumner and easy access to neighbors.”
The YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap counties identified a new site last spring at 64th Street East and 160th Avenue East.
“It’s 10-plus acres,” said Bob Ecklund, president and CEO of the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap counties.
The site, which has been cleared, will include a 110,000-square-foot facility. Ground breaking is expected in April, and the facility could open in July 2015, Ecklund said.
The total cost for construction, land acquisition and equipment is valued at $35 million. Ecklund said the Y is close to meeting its $12.5 million minimum campaign goal, which would be more than one-third of the project cost. Sumner has donated $5 million.
“We have five banks competing for the long-term financing of the project,” Ecklund said. “(A bank) will be selected in January.”
Seven parcels of land have been assembled on the site.
“It’s a depressed area, so this is an area trying to attract development,” Ecklund said. “We’re helping to generate housing activity for a variety of types that will be developed in this walkable community.”
What’s unique about the Sumner Y is the community demand for an arts center in the facility that will serve youth and senior citizens.
“This will be an 8,000-square-foot area with barn doors that slide out,” Ecklund said. “There will be a place for local artists to display their work.”
The arts center is expected to benefit more than 2,000 children and teens annually.
Within the building will be gym facilities and a large aquatics center, where more than 13,500 swim lessons will be offered annually.
“This will be the 27th Y that I have built from the ground up, and it will be the coolest Y in North America,” Ecklund said. “It’s all based on market research. It’s all based on what the teens, adults and children are saying they want.”
Ecklund said the research has shown a Sumner Y would reach 22,000 users. Of them, as much as 15 percent would be served with financial assistance, he said.
“What I love is that, in that same YMCA, there will be someone who gave us $1 million to build it, and there will be those who benefit from assistance, and they all get treated the same with the same programs and the same access,” Ecklund said. “That’s when our world and our society works best, when everyone is treated equal.”
The YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap counties is partnering with the Sumner School District to present free late-night activities monthly at rotating school and church locations. Once the Y opens, Ecklund said free late nights for children will be every Friday and Saturday nights at the Y.
“All they have to bring is a valid student ID,” he said.
Ecklund said he’s happy with the support from Enslow and Sumner City Administrator John Galle.
“We really have appreciated their steadfast support,” Ecklund said.Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.