YMCA Executive Director Randy Klinger had 200,000 reasons to smile Monday.
That's when he learned the McKnight Foundation granted the YMCA $200,000 for its expansion and remodeling effort, putting the association within $150,000 of its $4.3 million goal for the project.
"We're on the last leg," Klinger said. "We're fortunate to be where we are today."
The McKnight Foundation grant will go toward family and child-care services, including the Kids Club, a kindergarten though fifth-grade after-school program that will soon start its second year in expanded space. In 2000, 60 kids were enrolled. This year, more than 100 are anticipated to participate in the program.
The grant is one of several the YMCA has received. The YMCA received a $400,000 matching grant from the Blandin Foundation, a $100,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation and a $50,000 grant from Wells Fargo.
Grants aren't the only funding source. Brainerd waived the building permit fee valued at $12,500 for the expansion and Baxter is considering setting aside $2,000 in next year's budget.
More than 120 people have donated money to the project, including $2.1 million from Fran and Clarence Holden of Nisswa. Funding help has also come from St. Joseph's Medical Center.
Along with re-soliciting from various donors, Klinger said that later this year the "buy a brick" promotion will kick off, which gives donors of $1,000 a tile with their name on it to be placed in the YMCA.
The YMCA project is a two-part job: The expansion phase, which includes an aquatic center, more locker rooms, two youth centers, a multi-purpose meeting/banquet room and information center and reception area, a fitness room and more office space. The second phase is a complete remodeling of the old portion of the YMCA.
Construction on the expansion and the renovation is expected to be completed in April 2002, but with the work being done and the expansion beginning to take shape, Klinger said he can see the excitement in the new YMCA from people he meets.
"Not a day goes by when a kid or adult doesn't ask me when it will be completed," said Klinger.
Based on conservative five-year projections, membership is expected to grow by 15 percent each year. The new YMCA will be able to accommodate more than double the current membership of 3,300 people, Klinger said.
"We're confidant the market will be there," he said.
Started as the Northern Pacific Railroad YMCA in 1887, the YMCA has been at its current location since 1963.
An open house will be held sometime in September.
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