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Working It Out

Local YMCA Proposes New Harrison Street Facility

A conceptual drawing of the proposed new Jamestown Area YMCA being proposed to be constructed along Harrison Street at the site of the former Watson Manufacturing Company. Submitted photo

A new YMCA facility is being proposed to replace the Fourth Street location in Jamestown.

Tom Benson, YMCA new facility project manager, said the proposed location of the new YMCA facility will be along Harrison Street at the site of the former Watson Manufacturing Company, located next to Phoenix Metal Fabricating. He said the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency owns the property, which is considered a Brownfield, so it might lead to tax credits to lower the cost of the construction project. He added that YMCA officials would also like to acquire the adjacent property as well, which is closer to Winsor Street.

“We’re working with Peter Krog, who has done Brownfield projects in the city before, like the Riverwalk Center,” Benson said. “This area is the last part of the downtown that hasn’t really been cleaned up yet.”

The new proposed Y would be two stories high and would include two parking lots, so there would be plenty of parking, which is an issue at the current location at 101 E. Fourth St. in Jamestown. Along with parking challenges, the current Y is also located in a building that is about 100 years old, so there are several maintenance issues.

“The need is obvious,” Benson said. “This place (the new facility) will meet the majority of the needs of the community.”

A conceptual drawing of the proposed new Jamestown Area YMCA being proposed to be constructed along Harrison Street at the site of the former Watson Manufacturing Company. Submitted photo

Benson said the project is estimated to cost $26 million. He said YMCA officials are starting the process of meeting with potential community nonprofit partners like the Jamestown Public Schools District, UPMC Chautauqua, Winifred Crawford Dibert Boys & Girls Club and others to raise funds. He added that Y officials will also be meeting with local foundations to start the fundraising process.

“We need local support. We’re meeting with as many partners as possible to meet the needs of the community,” he said. “This is a project the town really needs badly.”

HOW WILL NEW FACILITY IMPACT OTHER LOCATIONS?

Mark Eckendorf, Jamestown Area YMCA CEO, said the changes to other YMCA locations in the area if a new location is constructed are currently unknown. However, he said the Lakewood YMCA would remain open because it has sports areas like indoor soccer, tennis courts, a gymnastic center and racketball that will not be included at the proposed new facility in Jamestown.

However, Eckendorf said a potential new YMCA would include a teen center area, so the East Side Y might not have the current programs it does now once the new location is opened. He said the East Side YMCA has recently been used to prepare the Meals for Kids program for school-aged children.

He said the East Side YMCA, after the new facility is constructed, could be used just for that program. However, it’s unknown at this time what exactly will happen.

“Nothing is in concrete yet,” he said.

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