With basketball courts, an outdoor multi-purpose area, a pool and several activity rooms, the Marietta Family YMCA is a mecca for local recreational opportunities. But the 60-year-old facility on Seventh Street is showing its age, and the wish list of upgrades exceeds what the nonprofit can afford.
The goal remains to build a new YMCA facility at Washington State Community College, but the project has stalled indefinitely after receiving less grant money than hoped for when the state allocated money for local projects in April.
"We were hoping for maybe $4 million, and we didn't get nearly that," said Bradley Ebersole, president of Washington State Community College.
JASMINE ROGERS The Marietta Times
Marietta Family YMCA members take part in a gravity class recently at the Y on Seventh Street in Marietta.
Instead, the $250,000 allocation will enable some studies and hopefully some initial design for the project, said Ebersole.
Suzy Zumwalde, director of the YMCA, said the boards of both the Y and the college are now planning to meet and decide more concretely how to spend the seed money and where to search for more funding.
A new state capital budget bill, which allocates the funds, will not happen for nearly two years. But Ebersole hopes the boards will be able to present a more fully realized plan by that time.
1902: The Cisler family donated land for the first Marietta Family YMCA, which was located on Second Street.
1953: A donation from Marietta resident George Light enabled the construction of the present YMCA on Seventh Street.
1964: A pool, gym and locker rooms were added to the existing facility.
2013: The YMCA and Washington State Community College received a quarter million dollar grant toward the building of a new Y facility at Washington State.
Source: Times research.
Fundraising would likely be a part of the equation as well, but will not be implemented until state funding is secured, he said.
"We're going to wait and make sure we get state funding first. If we came up with $4 million from that, we'd have to raise a few million more," said Ebersole.
Members at the YMCA love the classes, instructors and camaraderie at the Y, they say. But most agree the old building has some flaws.
"We would love a new YMCA...where everything is on one floor," said Marietta resident Barb Moberg, 63.
Moberg has a friend with health issues who would benefit from the YMCA's pool, but the women's locker room is in the basement. While there is a cumbersome old lift to the pool on the main floor, the setup is inconvenient for people who have trouble with stairs, she said.
The locker room itself is in dire need of an overhaul, noted member Judy Sites, 59, of Marietta.
"The locker room is frightening. It's not that it isn't cleaned well. It is. It's just old and it needs updated," she said.
The current location of the Y is ideal, within walking distance for Sites as well as Marietta resident Diane Bruno.
Though the two like to walk to the facility, Bruno said she would still be an avid member of the Y if it were to move to Washington State.
The YMCA is unmatched when it comes to the variety of class and facility offerings, she said.
"Part of why I come is for the laughter and the friendships," she said.
While those at the Y are excited about the possibility of a new location at WSCC, it's not the only option that's been explored.
Moving or vastly upgrading the current facility was discussed since before Zumwalde came to the Marietta facility four years ago.
"We either need to upgrade this building and really invest in fixing it up or we need to pursue a partnership at a new location," she said.
From equipment to daycare facilities, there is a lot the Y would like to upgrade. But the facility has no capital improvement fund tucked into its approximately $1 million annual budget, said Zumwalde.
"The majority of it is for day-to-day operations," she said.
This summer the YMCA is putting a new roof over the gym and pool, additions that were built onto the facility in the 1960s and have not been updated since. The improvements are being partly funded through community contributions, said Zumwalde.
As for the future, the YMCA will continue to do its best to balance its budget with needed upgrades, said board member Matt Evans.
"We've talked about different locations. We've talked about what needs to be done...We've got options," he said.