Y will modernize historic Medina site

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 April 2013 at 12:00 am

Organization is halfway towards $400k fund-raising goal

Photos by Tom Rivers – Jeff Winters, executive director of the YMCA in Medina, talks about a $400,000 plan to upgrade the site on Pearl Street during a fund-raising kick-off on Friday.

MEDINA – The YMCA in Medina has set a $400,000 capital campaign goal that organization leaders say will modernize a historic building for a new generation of Y users.

“This will turn it into a first-class facility,” said Medina attorney Lance Mark, who is chairman of the fund-raising drive.

The Y recently put a new roof on the former Armory, which was constructed in 1901. The state closed the site in 1977. The former Lake Plains YMCA moved into the building in 1980s.

The Y in Medina is now part of the GLOW YMCA, which owns sites in Batavia and Warsaw. The GLOW and national YMCA offer organizational support to the Medina-based organization, but don’t have money for the capital project.

“They help with the day-to-day in running the program,” Mark said. “We’re doing the fund-raising on our own.”

This rendering shows what the YMCA will look like with a handicapped accessible ramp added to the east side of the building. That project would cost about $80,000.

The Y in Medina has pushed to become a county-wide program in recent years, and that has paid off with a surge in new members, said Jeff Winters, the executive director. There are now 2,400 members, up 42 percent in the past 2.5 years. The Y runs other youth programs in Albion and Lyndonville.

“We’ve gone from being Medina-centric to Orleans County-wide,” Winters said during the capital campaign kick-off event on Friday.

The Y has already raised half of the $400,000 goal. That will allow the Y to put a much-needed handicapped accessible ramp on the east side of the building this summer. The steep front stone steps can be a challenge to senior citizens and young children, Winters said.

The ramp, at a cost of $80,000, will lead to a new main entrance. The Y will add a vestibule and two unisex bathrooms and shower areas inside. The lobby will be expanded for social areas for coffee and conversation. A “Child Watch” room and group exercise room will also be added.

The Y is finding the space for those rooms by removing the racquetball courts and shifting the double-court gym floor to take the space for racquetball. Winters said only about 10 members used the racquetball courts regularly while the gym sees heavy demand.

The new rooms and shifting of the gym floor are estimated to cost about $120,000. Those changes plus the new ramp would be the first projects in the capital campaign. Winters and Y leaders want to raise another $200,000 to overhaul heating, air-conditioning and other infrastructure.

Community members gathered in the gym on Friday to hear about a $400,000 plan to improve the YMCA, which is in a historic Medina sandstone building on Pearl Street. Membership has grown 42 percent in the past 2.5 years to 2,400.

Capital campaign leaders briefly considered moving the Y out of the historic Armory. But they value the landmark building, and say it has worked as a fitness and community center the past three decades. Building a new site would be far more costly than the capital campaign, Y leaders said.

State Sen. George Maziarz attended Friday’s kick-off event. He praised the community for finding a new use for the Armory in the 1980s, and for the continued efforts to keep the building relevant for a new generation.

“Many communities have torn down their armories,” Maziarz said. “This is an example of a great adaptive reuse. This is a real tribute to all of you who have kept this building alive and vibrant.”

The Medina Armory, built from Medina sandstone in 1901, closed in 1977 and became a YMCA in the 1980s. The site now draws from all over Orleans County.