The Reno YMCA is on the Move

By: Kara Tsuboi
By: Kara Tsuboi

The complex on Foster Drive has been serving YMCA members for the last 50 years. But officials say it has fallen into a state of disrepair that would take roughly 12 million to fix.

It may look like offices now, but YMCA officials say by this summer, this 11-thousand square foot space will be transformed into a state of the art fitness center.

"11-thousand square feet. We will have a full locker room, full cardio, full strength equipment, mind-body-spirit center, aerobic center," says \Mark Lieske, the CEO of the Reno YMCA.

Clearly missing from these plans for 50 West Liberty are a pool and gym; two of the signature elements of the old Foster Drive location.

"That's the last part we're working on with some partners is to find a location for the pool and gym use," adds Lieske.

Unlike the old Y, the new location will not have room for childcare. That's why it's moving to this location at the intersection of 5th and Washington.

Lieske says decentralizing the Y's services has become a must... if they hope to have a presence in the downtown core.

"There's not a lot of options downtown, there's just not a lot of land and not a lot of buildings. We found a great location. 2 miles from here, the daytime population is 30-thousand people."

But members who enjoy the convenience of fitness options a few steps from childcare facilities... are upset the Y is abandoning its current location...and the bread and butter of its membership: families and seniors.

"It creates an atmosphere that is priceless in this community. It's a shame to lose it," says Jim Thornton, a member of the Reno YMCA for the last 46 years.

Member Paul Lagrou adds that "My kids can walk over for swim lessons. They can walk over for T-ball. They're at the daycare center. In the new center, that won't be possible. So it concerns me, where are my kids going to learn how to swim? Where are they going to learn to play baseball?"

"I am concerned about the new location. So, I will say that I'm going to look for new childcare," says Peggy Baker.

The Y has received an offer from Westhaven Developments to buy the Foster Drive building. Y Officials say they have an agreement to rent space from them to ensure a seamless transition for their services.

YMCA officials can't give us a dollar figure for renovating the 50 West Liberty site. But they say to do that, build the childcare facility and renovate the Sparks and Cold Springs locations, it will cost roughly 6 million dollars -- half of what they say it would take to fix the 60 year old building at Foster Drive.


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