The Ridgway YMCA "Shape the Future" Capital Campaign is under way as officials are seeking $1.5 million in donations for a joint swimming pool and exercise room project.
"We chose 'Shape the Future' because we need to have a YMCA for our future," said Mary Lynne Bellotti, executive director of the Ridgway YMCA. "We need to move it forward and improve it so that it's here for generations to come.
"There are rules and regulations that come out every year that we must comply with, the newest involving handicap accessibility. That is going to be our main focus."
Due to the United States Department of Justice's revised regulations for Title II and Title III of the mandatory Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all public accommodations and commercial pool facilities must be modified to comply with the new 2010 guidelines that include new accessibility standards for swimming pools.
"We have to maintain our pool and we currently do not follow the ADA rules and regulations," Bellotti said. "As we want to redo our pool, we also want to expand upward as well. Many times during the day our fitness room is just maxed out. We need to move forward to accommodate our members."
Bellotti and the current Board of Directors have been preparing for these modifications to the pool; the locker rooms and street access have been completely renovated with new lockers, showers, restrooms, and benches to meet ADA requirements. However, the pool does not meet the requirements.
"It's not just a pool renovation project, it's an entire wing," Bellotti said. "There is nowhere for us to go but up so if we do it now, we save over 25 percent by adding a fitness room on top of the pool, and we need to do it. We are just maxed out all over."
For Michelle Bogacki, current president of the facility's Board of Directors, the pool has been providing lifesaving skills and family night opportunities.
"Even more, it's also being used as an aquatic therapeutic component to the aging population," Bogacki said. "That is growing in its strength and membership, and we don't want to lose that, and I could never imagine the YMCA without a pool.
"These mandated regulations are being pushed and we are working diligently to meet those mandatory guidelines. Also, with the buildout of that fitness room, it would complete the whole project and the whole development of the building itself."
A Fitness and Aquatic Capital Fund has been set up at the Northwest Savings Bank of Warren. If you would like to make a donation or know of someone who can support this campaign, "please don't hesitate." Donations may be made to the Ridgway YMCA "Shape the Future" Capital Campaign.
Ground-breaking is earmarked for May 2013 and YMCA officials hope "to move the May 2013 ground-breaking date closer."
"It's been around for 100 years," Bogacki said, "and it's our time to give it that complete modern construction."
Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, April 11, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.