AMHERST – A long journey is about to come to a successful conclusion for the Cumberland YMCA.
Two years after embarking on a $3.5-million capital campaign, the YMCA is just $46,000 short of its goal and chief executive officer Trina Clarke is hopeful the organization will pass its fundraising target before the end of the month or early in 2013.
“It’s a huge relief to be getting so close to wrapping up the campaign,” Clarke said. “The final pieces of the puzzle are coming together and it’s nice to see us approaching that goal.”
The multi-year campaign, that included a $1.35-million public component, has seen a huge transformation in the building that hadn’t seen many capital improvements over more than 20 years because of a series of financial crisis.
“We were never able to re-invest back into the building,” she said. “We realize and understand now the importance of a strong business plan and capital re-investment has to be a strong part of that business plan.
“Financially we were barely keeping the doors open. We couldn’t keep up with the repairs as they came up because we just didn’t have the funds. Our business plan now stresses the importance of having funds so we can fix things as they come up.”
With assistance from the federal government, the province and both the Town of Amherst and Municipality of Cumberland, the YMCA built a wellness centre that included new fitness and cardio and equipment and space, refurbished the gymnasium and created studio space for classes.
The second phase included a child-care centre, while the third phase – that has already begun with work on the roof, should be completed later in 2013. It will also see work done on HVAC systems, renovations to the locker rooms, the pool deck and mechanical systems for the pool.
Most of the mechanical equipment for the pool is from the original building that opened in the late 1980s and it’s beginning to show its age. A filtration pump broke down last week, leading to the temporary closure of the pool. A short-term fix was found until the mechanical work can be completed later this year.
Clarke said the board and staff are so appreciative of the support that has come from the community, including corporation donations and those from individual members and residents.
“Doing the project in phases allowed people to see the government going to work on the wellness centre and the child-care centre. They could see there’s significant improvement happening,” she said. “The result has been a tremendous level of support from the community.”
She said some donors are using the YMCA as a way to give a Christmas present to recipients who are hard to buy for.
“Everyone has someone that has everything or is hard to buy for. People can make a donation to the YMCA in their honour and we’ll send out a card saying a donation was made in their name,” Clarke said. “There are also a number of people and companies out there who have made the decision to support the YMCA, but have to contact us about that commitment. We’re making our last push and we really hope to have all the commitments in place by the end of 2012 so we’ll know that part of the job has been done and we can focus on all the work that needs to be done in the building in the next few months.”