Haverford Twp. anticipating new YMCA

Rendering of new Haverford Area YMCA to open in September 2013. — SUBMITTED PHOTO

The groundbreaking for the new Haverford Area YMCA drew applause from officials and residents.

“Every day, people’s lives are transformed by experiences they have in YMCA branches,” said president and CEO of the YMCA of Philadelphia and Vicinity John Flynn. “We are committed to making the new Haverford Y the best it can be. In order to serve more community members, we are bringing a new state-of-the-art facility to the Haverford Township.”

Flynn is banking on “a significant economic impact in the community” as a result of building a 70,000 square foot facility that features three swimming pools, a wellness center, indoor track, and gym equipped with basketball and volleyball courts. The price tag to date sits at $22.5 million dollars.

PECO has contributed $250,000 in exchange for the track being named the “PECO Running and Walking Track.”

Independence Blue Cross has pledged $1.5 million over the next three years to support healthy living programs and initiatives. Of that, $500,000 has been earmarked for the future Independence Blue Cross Wellness Center.

“I don’t think there’s a more collaborative relationship or better mission for our company to be involved with than the Y,” said Christopher Cashman, executive vice president and president of Independence Blue Cross’ commercial markets.

Steering the Haverford Area YMCA’s fundraising efforts is Capital Committee Chairman and Vice Chairman, North Marq Capital, Walt D’Alessio.

The organization is an outstanding steward of financial resources, community well-being and individual trust,” he said.

In 2007, the YMCA of Philadelphia and Vicinity saw an opportunity to open a new branch. After conducting a feasibility study of seventeen potential communities, Haverford Township emerged as the leader.

“Few other organizations have the competence and heart to succeed in the way the Y does,” D’Alessio said.

The new YMCA will replace the old, decrepit Swell Bubble Gum Factory property, which sat dormant since it closed in 2003.

In 2009, the YMCA of Philadelphia and Vicinity entered into a long-term lease with the township and agreed to demolish the building and revive the site. Members will be able to enjoy the Havertown facility in September 2013.

Lori Hanlon-Widdop, Assistant Township Manager, believes that “Haverford Township is very community minded.” Helping to manage almost 50,000 residents, Hanlon-Widdop is aware that “recreational, fitness programs and events are a favorite family activity for many residents. And the location is perfect.”

The new Haverford Area YMCA will serve approximately 20,000 people, create 150 new jobs, increase spending within the township and improve the overall quality of life for everyone.

To kick-start the excitement, free memberships are being given to seventh-graders enrolled in area schools. Lucky fifth-grade representatives from Haverford’s Lynnewood and Sacred Heart Schools received membership certificates during the groundbreaking ceremony.

“Right now there is nowhere in our area that can offer everything a Y does,” said Haverford Township resident Erin Allsma. “The Y is the only place where we can use one membership for activities for the whole family. We can’t wait for it to open in our neighborhood.”

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