Out with the old YMCA and in with the new

The new Westport/Weston YMCA officially moved its location from the urban downtown to the peaceful  Saugatuck river. Members enjoyed their time at the downtown YMCA while it lasted. However, many were overwhelmed by the busy scene. On Thursday, Aug. 28, the new YMCA facility located at 14 Allen Raymond Lane inaugurated the completion of their new site with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Although not officially opened until further notice, the YMCA has been attracting the Westport and Weston community with multiple open houses.

“The new facility has a huge gym that allows people to work out…with a diversity of machines.”  Ryan Angerthal ’16, a long time member of the YMCA, said.

This $38.5 million facility includes a 10-lane, 25-yard lap pool, five locker rooms, a larger gym and a wellness center.

“In addition to the lap pool, there is a warm water shallow pool, which consists of basketball hoops, as well as a playscape,” communications director Scott Smith said.

While this facility has many exciting attractions, some sacrifices had to be made in order to compensate for the new features.

Lexi Wetmore ’16, a YMCA gymnast, has been greatly affected by this new transition.

She explains that her team is now forced to haul their equipment to a local Norwalk gym to practice.

However, in early fall of 2014, after  all construction stages have been completed, “the Family Y at Mahackeno will comprise 102,000 sq. ft. and is expected to include a Gymnastics Center,” according to the Westport/Weston YMCA website.

In order for the new YMCA to open, a Certificate of Occupancy needs to be granted. According to Smith, the downtown location will be the home to the fall activities for just a few weeks.

David Waldman, Vice President of the Westport Downtown Merchants Association and founder of David Adam Realty, has taken on the project of reviving the downtown YMCA building (after the Certificate of Occupancy is granted). He plans on building a beautiful space that will undergo a two year construction period. However, Waldman is unsure what tenants will be moving into the renovated space.

Since the new facility utilizes the camp grounds of Camp Mahackeno (owned by the YMCA), Mahackeno campers were moved to the old downtown space this past summer. Camp Hafday and Camp Mahackeno were combined while the YMCA was being built.

However, this coming summer, there are high hopes that Camp Mahackeno will return to its normal location, sharing the land with the YMCA.

“Mahackeno will have an improved pick up and drop off area as well as refurbished locker rooms,” Smith said.

The Westport and Weston community has exciting openings to look forward to.