July 13, 2020

Belfast YMCA seeks $1.7 million for pool project

BELFAST – The Waldo County YMCA has announced the public phase of its $3.5 million capital campaign for a new swimming facility.

The facility will include a six-lane swimming pool, warm-water therapy pool and a therapy pool with water jets. The YMCA already has raised half of the money needed to build the project through internal fundraising.

“After nearly two years of quiet fundraising, we have raised over $1.8 million. We are now more than halfway to our goal of $3.5 million and keeping our promise to this community,” said Don Hoenig, campaign co-chairman. “We thank everyone who has helped us get to this point. Our pool is already half full.”

The effort will mark the completion of the YMCA facility, which opened four years ago.

Plans for the original YMCA initially included a pool, but that segment of the facility was put on hold due to financial constraints. The YMCA board of directors did not want to take on the added debt a pool would require.

The $4.8 million YMCA building was financed with short-term debt that was paid in full two years ago. Planning for the swimming facility began once the YMCA debt was paid down.

When the YMCA was built, designer Orcutt Associates of Yarmouth included an area to the right of the front entrance as the future site of the pool complex. When the new facility is completed, the pool areas will be visible through glass panels in the YMCA lobby.

The plans call for a 79-foot by 50-foot six-lane pool that is 25 yards long, with depths ranging from 4 to 9 feet. There will also be a 40-foot-long by 28-foot-long warm water therapy pool along with a 10-foot by 15-foot hydrotherapy pool.

The swimming pool will provide a home for the YMCA’s Blue Fish swim team as well as a complementary venue for Belfast Area High School swim meets. The high school has its own pool.

In addition, the therapy and hydrotherapy pools will serve as a extension of Waldo County General Hospital’s ability to provide physical therapy and other pool programs.

“Having a therapy pool within our community will allow Waldo County General Hospital and opportunity to provide additional types of therapy, as well as give our team of physical therapists the ability to provide services to more patients,” hospital executive director Mark Biscone said.

The natatorium also will enable the YMCA to offer a broad spectrum of aquatic programs for people of all ages and abilities in keeping with its core mission of building strong children, strong families and strong communities.

Along with recreational swimming, the pool will enable the YMCA to provide swimming lessons, “aquacise,” swim team activities, lap swimming, scuba training, lifeguard training and canoe and kayak training. Besides being used for warm-water therapy, the therapy pool will also provide a teaching environment for infants, young children and those with special needs.

The YMCA is the primary provider of programs for youth and adults in Waldo County. It serves as the afternoon activity center from 100 to 200 teenagers from Troy Howard Middle School and Belfast Area High School through its Teen Access Program, which is provided to students for free. It also provides day care, offers health and fitness-related programs and provides and atmosphere for people of all backgrounds and income levels.

“The Waldo County YMCA has long been a positive influence in our community, and since our beautiful facility was completed four years ago, the Y has dramatically built on its successes,” Belfast Mayor Michael Hurley said. “The Y serves toddlers to seniors with programs and options which are unmatched in our area.”

Contact the YMCA at 338-4598 or visit waldocountyymca.org.

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