YMCA Community Center begins new construction phase

News release

WATERTOWN, NY  – The Watertown Family YMCA Board of Directors has approved Purcell Construction to move to the next phase of the construction of a new state-of-the-art YMCA facility in the heart of downtown Watertown.

The $27.5 million project will completely renovate the 89,000 square foot building that formerly housed a call center and before that, Woolworths Department Store. The new facility will include a brand-new natatorium complete with a 6-lane lap pool and adjacent recreational pool, multi-sport courts, indoor track, full wellness center, classrooms, and child watch facilities.

The new facility will enable the YMCA to host state level competitive swim meets, expand preventative health services in the community, and significantly enhance programs and amenities moving from the current downtown location upon completion.

The current building owner, the Jefferson County Industry Development Agency partnered with the YMCA to help secure $9 million in funding from the federal Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation. This OLDCC priority project was selected for funding given its strategic location and ability to improve quality of life for military families in the greater Fort Drum area. The IDA also completed a complex environmental remediation of this empty aging downtown building. Their completion of this remediation phase has now paved the way for the YMCA to begin redevelopment and turn this cornerstone downtown property into a prominent centerpiece that compliments surrounding businesses, provides vital services to the neighboring affordable community and significantly enhances amenities to its members and the broader community.

Given the projects many positive impacts on the community, it has attracted significant investment from federal, state, and local sources. In addition to the federal investment previously outlined, the project has been awarded $3,600,000 in state funding, a $250,000 grant from National Grid, and received $4,100,000 in local donations which includes a lead and matching gift from the Northern NY Community Foundation, with the final phase of the Transforming Community Campaign about to begin. A combination of equity investment, debt financing and other pending grant funding will provide the remaining sources of funding for the project. In total the project will take 18 months to complete with an estimated completion of fall 2023.

“We are grateful for the tremendous community support and are pleased to move to the next phase of both the construction and the campaign.” Stated Denise Young, YMCA Chief Executive Officer. “The culmination of this project will impact our community’s health and wellbeing for generations to come.”

Kevin Jordan, YMCA Board President notes “The YMCA Board of Directors is excited to move to the next phase in the development of a modern YMCA facility. We want to thank the manyorganizations, agencies and individuals that have helped us take a vision and concept and take this critical step in making this complex project a reality.”

JCIDA Executive Director, David Zembiec states “So many former commercial buildings of this size sit idle in downtown locations for years. We can’t think of a better reuse of this site as we watch it transformed and revitalized into a new YMCA facility that will complement the downtown area, make Jefferson County a more attractive destination for workers and businesses, support our Fort Drum neighbors, and further enhance the value of the public and private investment previously made in the surrounding downtown area.”