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YMCA gym closed for June as first step of ‘significant investment’

Aug 13, 2023

Don't get out of breath if you see the gymnasium closed at the YMCA this month.

Throughout the month of June, the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka will be undertaking renovations on the gymnasium portion of their Midland Health, Fitness and Aquatics Centre (HFA).

A $65,000 Enabling Accessibility Fund grant was received from Employment and Social Development Canada, to be split between YMCA Camp Kitchikewana and the Midland HFA, with the YMCA contributing 20 per cent toward accessibility projects.

Through the grant funding and additional donations to the charity organization, the gymnasium will be stripped, repainted – with added pickleball court lines – and finished.

As the resurfacing process can result in variations of air quality, the walking-running track which circles the floor directly above the gymnasium is intended to be gauged on a day-by-day basis for usage.

"We anticipate the disruption of the gymnasium to be throughout the month of June and plan to have it open and ready for use for July and August," Midland YMCA general manager Naomi Murray told MidlandToday.

Classes and programs throughout June will be relocated and/or rescheduled to accommodate the upgrades, utilizing outdoor classes, other areas of the YMCA, and even a rented indoor space at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre located next to the building.

"We are thinking outside the box and trying to be as creative as we can to minimize the disruption for members tackling one project at a time," said Murray.

The June modifications are just the first implementation of a greater six-month plan.

Following the gymnasium resurfacing, further upgrades are slated to include: replacement of the port-hole lights in the pool; winterization of windows; replacement of roof top units; flooring in the foyer; and the replacement of several doors within the facility to accommodate accessibility needs.

"We are still confirming some of the projects and working out timelines to ensure the least disruption possible," said Murray.

The upgrades come as a "bounce back," according to Murray, following a difficult period where the facility had to close throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and several YMCA locations were unable to reopen.

"It's true that the pandemic was tough on our YMCA as it was on so many charities," said Murray.

"While we did have to make the difficult decision to close or sell some of our capital assets, every action we took was to protect our long-term sustainability and viability as a community-based charity, despite some very serious circumstances, including a loss of operating revenue by 42 per cent," Murray explained.

The YMCA is a charitable organization, according to their mission statement, dedicated to the growth of all persons in spirit, mind and body, and to their sense of belonging to one another and to the global community.

Input from approximately 1,000 key stakeholders across the region was used to develop a strategic plan called ‘Forward, Together’, allowing the organization to explore and implement innovative ways in continuing to support their communities.

"As a charity, what enables the YMCA to bring a number of exciting capital projects, programs and services to life is the generosity of our donors who are committed to helping families, friends and neighbours feel well, strong, confident and connected," Murray shared.

Details on classes, including rescheduled dates and locations, as well as other information can be found by contacting the YMCA or visiting the organization's website.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,