Sunday, September 28, 2003

W. Chester may get facility

Membership at Lakota branch doubled in year

By Anna Guido
Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] Bill Prindle, of Cincinnati Floor Company, touches up the Lakota YMCA logo on the new maple basketball court floor.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
LIBERTY TOWNSHIP - As the Lakota YMCA puts finishing touches on its latest improvement - a solid maple, NBA-regulation basketball court - officials are considering an addition that would top all others.

The YMCA is ready to bring a facility to neighboring West Chester Township.

"Our membership has grown so much, we're to the point that we need to think about locating another facility on the western side of West Chester Township," board president Greg Amend said. "We have a really nice facility now and we want to duplicate that in West Chester."

Amend said the area's population growth has fueled the Y's membership growth.Recent estimates put West Chester's population at more than 56,000, up from 39,703 in 1990, and Liberty's population at more than 22,000, up from 9,200 in 1990.

The Lakota Y, at 6703 Yankee Road, draws most of its membership from the two communities.

In just over a year, the Y's membership more than doubled from 3,000 to 7,500.

"As we continue to add on, it just continues to grow," Lakota Y executive director John Schaller said

Financially, the Y is in a good position to build another facility, officialssaid.

"We're talking - without the land - about $6 million," Amend said. "We can start the West Chester facility out nicer because we have capacity to handle the debt service with the existing membership."

Finding 10 acres of land between Union Centre Boulevard and Tylersville Road is the first step.

"We're hoping that someone - perhaps a developer - can step up with a donation of land, or hoping that we can enter into a partnership with the schools," Amend said.

The Lakota Y, which opened in 1993, has a newly expanded fitness center and nursery, a collegiate size-gymnasium, two racquetball courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, an aerobics room, pre-school/child care center, outdoor roller hockey rink and outdoor climbing wall.

The most recent improvement - completed in June - was a $400,000 expansion and renovation to the fitness center, administration offices, lobby and nursery. Ten months earlier in August 2002, a new outdoor pool was built and the original outdoor pool was enclosed.

A committee is being formed to study the Lakota YMCA's expansion into West Chester Township. Anyone interested in joining the committee should visit the Y or call executive director John Schaller at (513) 779-3917.


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