Fundraising underway for new Monett YMCA

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Plans have been developed and fundraising is underway for a new YMCA facility that will be constructed at the southwest corner of Monett's south park.

"We have outgrown our present facility," said Mike Garrett, Monett YMCA Board chairman. "We need a larger facility to enhance the quality of the programs and services we offer people in the community."

Currently, around 2,600 YMCA members utilize the 10,000-square-foot building located on Euclid Street in Monett. With the number of members increasing each year, YMCA officials began developing plans for a new facility around two years ago.

"We have had a dramatic increase in usage in Monett," said Gordon Brown, Monett and Cassville YMCA executive director. "We keep track of the number of people who come into the building each day and that number has more than doubled over the last two years.

"Our current facility is only a little bit bigger than a large gym," said Brown. "We have used every possible corner of every room to offer programs. At times we have as many as 10 different activities going on in one space at one time."

The Monett YMCA Board began planning for the new facility by developing various taskforces that were responsible for collecting community input for the project plans.

"We have had taskforces working to develop plans not only for the facility but for the activities that will be held in the facility and how the facility will be constructed, maintained and operated," said Garrett. "Through surveys, we received public input indicating the kinds of uses the public would like to see available at a new facility."

Although task force members visited other YMCA facilities in the area, the visits were only used to develop facility ideas, said Garrett.

"Each YMCA is designed individually to serve the needs of the community," said Garrett. "This facility will be directly related to the comments that we received."

Earlier this year, the Monett YMCA signed a long-term lease agreement with the City of Monett, which will allow them to construct the new facility at the southwest corner of the south park.

"The new YMCA facility will be conveniently located near Highways 37 and 60," said Garrett. "Individuals will be able to access the facility by bicycle or on foot through the greenway trails.

"The south park has been a destination point for families and groups for many years and we want to continue to recognize the functions of the park that has served so many generations," said Garrett. "Groups will be able to gather and enjoy activities at the park on a year-round basis not just in the summer."

The new YMCA facility will add a variety of indoor recreational opportunities to the outdoor facilities that are currently available in the south park, said Garrett.

"When the facility is finished, it will offer an indoor swimming pool, which will allow people to swim not just between Memorial Day and Labor Day but year round," said Garrett. "The number one thing that the community wanted to see was an aquatic center and that will be a major part of the facility."

The new facility's aquatic center will feature eight lap lanes that will allow the YMCA to host competitive swimming events at the facility throughout the year. It will also offer a warm water pool for aquasize classes and other activities.

"There will be a full-size basketball facility with a regulation court that can be divided into two elementary courts," said Garrett. "There will be a walking track around the gymnasium, and we will have numerous meeting rooms for fine arts classes and youth activities."

The facility will also feature a game room, an expanded wellness area with an assortment of cardio and weight lifting equipment, a rock climbing wall, two racquetball courts, indoor and outdoor children's playground areas, a locker room and family changing rooms.

"I like everything that the new facility plans include," said Brown. "The addition of the aquatic center is very exciting. The new facility will double the area for wellness equipment. We will also have large amounts of youth-related areas."

In order to house all of the areas included in the preliminary plans, the Monett YMCA will need to construct a 62,000-square-foot facility, said Gordon.

"I realize we are looking at a large building, but it is designed in a way that all spaces will have multiple uses," said Brown. "Areas will impact different groups at different times of the day. We will have programs for pre-schoolers to adults.

"All of the plans will be subject to funding," said Brown. "I certainly hope and believe that it is possible to build and sustain a facility this size, but it will all depend on fundraising."

The capital campaign for the proposed YMCA facility will be conducted on several levels, said Garrett, who co-chairs the Monett YMCA Capital Campaign Committee with Mike Wallace.

"We will make direct contact with potential donors," said Garrett. "We have established a website that talks about the nature of the project and gives individuals an opportunity to donate and track our fundraising progress.

"We also plan to meet with various civic and community organizations and church groups," said Garrett. "We want this to be community-wide effort. We want the support of the entire community, because we feel the whole community will benefit from this facility."

If the proposed Monett YMCA is constructed according to current plans, the new facility will be capable of serving 2,800 more members, which would be 22 percent of the local population.

Although more members will be utilizing the new facility, Brown does not anticipate a substantial increase in staff. Brown estimated that only three or four full-time employees will be added at the new YMCA facility. Additional part-time positions could be available at the new facility as membership numbers increase.

For more information on the proposed Monett YMCA facility, visit

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