By Sam Wildow
PIQUA — The Miami County YMCA’s capital campaign for a new building for its Piqua branch recently surpassed the 75% mark of its $15 million funding goal.
“We eclipsed our 75% mark on our campaign goal,” Miami County YMCA Executive Director Jim McMaken said. “We’re at $11.5 million, so that’s a nice milestone. We’re not done yet, we have some leg work to do, but the closer we continue to get to that goal, the more excited we become.”
The main portion of the current Piqua Branch of the Miami County YMCA was constructed in 1963, and it replaced a building that had been on that corner since 1892. The current building was also expanded in 1977.
The Miami County YMCA kicked off this capital campaign at the same time it demolished the three buildings across the street from its current location at 223 W. High St. in Piqua, where the new Piqua Branch will go.
“When we demolished the buildings, that was really our first public visual this thing is moving forward,” McMaken said.
The Miami County YMCA is planning on breaking ground at that location before the end of the year, Board President Elizabeth Gutmann said.
The cost of the new Piqua branch is expected to total $13 million. Once the new facility is constructed, which is expected to be complete by spring 2023, the current building will be demolished and replaced with a parking lot. The cost of that portion of the project is expected to be approximately $2 million.
“We’ve had such great support,” Gutmann said about the project. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s been really positive because of how much support there is for the Miami County YMCA and locally for this branch.”
Campaign Chairman Steve Staley echoed similar comments about how the capital campaign team appreciates the response the Miami County YMCA has gotten for this new branch.
“It’s heartwarming,” Staley said. “To the see the community and the city step up and be so enthusiastic with the support, it’s overwhelming.”
The capital campaign team also complimented the work its volunteers have done. Staley said the group of volunteers they have had helped make this campaign a success, also commending McMaken for his dedication to both the project and the day-to-day operations of the Miami County YMCA.
The team also commended Staley for his work as the chairman and his commitment to Piqua, where Staley has lived his whole life.
“He’s been an amazing chairman,” Gutmann said, adding that Staley understands the importance of the YMCA and the campaign.
Margaret French, chairperson of the Advance Leadership and Major Gift Division of the capital campaign, said she was asked to join the capital campaign after some of the early work to the campaign had been done.
“I have just been incredibly impressed and gratified by the quality of the work that was done in the first place and then the follow-up and the commitment by volunteers since the project was started,” French said. “It’s such a testament to the integrity of the Y.
“I am just constantly gratified and appreciative of the quality of the work that people are putting in this and also the integrity that is appreciated by everybody in the community for the Y.”
While it has been a relief for the campaign to reach this point in its fundraising goal, the capital campaign team is prepared to continue its fundraising efforts.
“The work has not ended,” said John Duntley, of the American City Bureau and a campaign team member.
“We haven’t gone to the general public yet and request support. We will be doing that soon,” McMaken said. “We anticipate we will be inviting the public to support this project sometime in the 30 to 45 days.” He said the $25-50 donations the Miami County YMCA receives for capital campaign projects, just as for its past capital campaign project for the Robinon Branch in the 1990s, are “extremely valuable and important.”
“This is a campaign for everyone,” McMaken said. “Those $25 pledges will be just as important as our more significant sized pledges.”
“I think it is a pivotal opportunity,” Duntley said about supporting the project. ”The Y’s been a part of the community since the 1800s and went through some changes many years ago … It’s hard to imagine how much this new Y will mean to the community.”
He noted the programs the Miami County YMCA offers, from child care programs to programs for senior citizens.
“Every generation in the community has a place at the Y,” Duntley said.
The staples of the Miami County YMCA will be found at the new building, including a 25-meter, six-lane pool; a diving pool with a diving board; a large gymnasium and fieldhouse; and two full-sized basketball courts. The fieldhouse will be netted with a turf area for sports like baseball, softball, and football to be played.
The new building will also boast a larger therapy pool with a handicap-accessible, zero-entry ramp. They will also add a water feature to the swimming area for kids.
“This just secures the next maybe 75 to 100 years (that the) Piqua Branch of the Miami County YMCA will be alive and well,” McMaken said.
The Miami County YMCA, at both locations, is accessible and available to everyone through use of financial assistance programs. Those in need can apply to have up to 90% of the membership costs covered.
French said this scholarship commitment make the Miami County YMCA “even more of a community asset.”
“Nobody’s turned away from the Y due to the inability to pay the membership fees,” McMaken said. He said there are approximately 1,000 people a year who receive financial assistance to become members of the Miami County YMCA. He also noted that during the 2008 recession, there were over 3,000 people in the community who benefited from those financial assistance programs.
If you would like to learn more about how the YMCA impacts the community or how you can make a contribution, contact Jim McMaken at (937) 773-9622 or [email protected]. There are also opportunities for named gifts in honor of or in memory of family and friends.
For more information about the project, visit miamicountyymca.net/capital-campaign.