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YMCA lease agreement nears completion; funding being planned

While a lease agreement is nearing completion between Regina Medical Center and the Hastings YMCA, construction of the proposed $8 million facility will not begin until after funding has been achieved.

"I think people believe we've raised the money and will be breaking ground," Hastings YMCA executive director Terri Blattenbauer said. "We're not there yet."

In fact, the capital campaign committee to raise funds for the facility is still in the planning stages.

"We have 300 to 400 people working on it," Blattenbauer said. "It won't be until February or March before we go to the community on this."

The facility is planned to be 65,000 square feet and located at the corner of Nininger Road and Pleasant Drive on property owned by Regina. The Regina board and attorneys are working out the legal details of a lease agreement. According to Mark Wilson, Regina president/CEO, the official letter was sent this week notifying the YMCA of its intent to begin negotiations for a ground agreement. The YMCA of Greater St. Paul's board will then review the letter for formal acceptance. Wilson said the agreement would be long-term.

The new facility, as envisioned by YMCA officials and volunteers, would include a swimming pool with a slide, multiple gymnasiums with basketball courts, a fitness center and fitness studio, a walking/running track, locker rooms, a children's play area, administrative offices and possibly a racquetball court. The building's features were determined by a 2001 survey of community residents who were asked what they would like to see in a YMCA facility.

Blattenbauer said a feasibility study completed this summer indicates an $8 million facility with the planned features will be utilized.

"The feasibility study showed there is enough support in the community to make this happen," she said.

Although the capital campaign has not begun in the community, Blattenbauer said it is anticipated the new building will be open in 2005.

Meanwhile, the upcoming capital campaign should not be confused with other YMCA fund-raising projects, such as "Dine Dakota," a recent fund-raiser that included three Hastings restaurants for the purpose of supporting youth programs for three county YMCAs. The annual Y Partners fund-raiser is also under way. Y Partners is an effort to help fund programs, financial assistance offerings and the 2004 general operations. This year's goal is $47,000.

"It's an exciting time for us," Blattenbauer said. "It's a good time for anyone who wants to volunteer in any way to give us a call."

For more information about YMCA volunteer opportunities, call 480-8887.

The Hastings YMCA has been in existence for more than two years, with offices originally located at the Hastings Armory and now at Westview Center. Programs are held at various sites, including the Armory, Westview, the middle school and Tilden Kindergarten Center and Country Inn and Suites. Current programs include adult fitness, preschool sports, youth programs and swimming lessons.