Five years after the South Orange Family YMCA bought the building it’s based in for future use, officials officially marked the opening of its $2.9 million expansion.
The project was capped with a ribbon cutting involving the key project’s key stakeholders on June 3.
The project expands the Monroe facility and adds new community programs and services plus a 25-yard, four-lane lap pool, a full-court gym, additional program space for children and a yoga studio.
Officials stressed the expanded facility is a “true community center” which will now be the hallmark gathering place in the greater Monroe area for adults, children, senior citizens and groups who are interested in exercise, health and socializing.
“It all began eleven years ago when Adria Gross, Myrna Kemnitz, Steve Milligram, and Mark Jacobs saw the need for a true community center in Monroe and embarked on a journey to make their vision a reality,” said Ross Miceli, chief operating officer of the Middletown YMCA. “Together with representatives from the Middletown YMCA and many community partners, the South Orange Family YMCA opened in February 2011, but the building was missing a few key components of the overall vision.”
Miceli said the vision of a community/family center was quickly realized only a year later.
“The staff and community quickly witnessed the incredible impact of what the YMCA could bring to the region through a wide variety of services and partnerships,” said Miceli. “The completion of this project is a bi-product of many hands and a lot of hard work. This gorgeous YMCA is an example of what can happen when a community comes together, works together, and works hard to achieve a goal.”
Ten years later, Miceli stressed Y’s pledge to the community is now fulfilled.
“It makes me extremely proud that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Y was able to keep its promise to the community,” he said. “This addition and beautiful facility will be here for generations to come and will continue to impact so many families and children.”
The pool is now open to everyone including families, children and adults. Pool services consist of swim lessons, family swim, open swim, lap swim and water exercise classes.
The new pool and training room allows the Y to continue being the area’s largest provider for life guard trainings as well as CPR and first aid.
The pool and new gym and turf field will allow the Y to offer additional and more creative programing and programs for summer camp, Kids Night Out, and monthly family nights.
Miceli thanked everyone who was a part of this effort, including members and donors to the capital campaign project. In particular, he thanked Jacobs and his family for their $200,000 pool sponsorship.
“SOFY staff are the individuals who have the ability to connect with our community and our members and are the ones who create the real magic that that transpires within this beautiful facility,” said Miceli, who once served as the Y’s Monroe branch manager. “Together, we change lives and make a positive impact on thousands of individuals each day, serving families and children and all ages.”