YMCA LAUNCHES REC CENTER FUNDS CAMPAIGN $8 MILLION NEEDED FOR PARK LOCATION.
LANCASTER - Antelope Valley Family YMCA will host a capital campaign kickoff dinner Thursday in its effort to build an $8 million recreation center in Lancaster.
YMCA leaders have been working since 2003 to raise funds for the 35,000-square-foot center, which is slated to be built in Lancaster City Park and to contain an indoor pool, gym, aerobics studio and a fitness area.
``It depends on how fast the money comes in, but we hope by '07 to break ground and to open the building in '08,'' said Laura Mayo, the local YMCA's executive director.
The dinner will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Essex House Convention Center in Lancaster. Admission is free, but reservations are required by calling the YMCA at (661) 273-1525.
The dinner is intended to provide an update on fundraising, which so far is about half way to the goal, and to provide information about the center and the need for it and for expanded YMCA programs, Mayo said.
The dinner's speakers will be Larry Rosen, president of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, and Newton Chelette, Antelope Valley College's head men's basketball coach.
YMCA officials said a market analysis study revealed an extraordinarily high demand for YMCA lifestyle programs among Antelope Valley residents, but the current YMCA has reached the limit of its potential with its current facilities and programs.
To be funded by a combination of grants and community donations, the new YMCA center is proposed to go up immediately south of Lancaster City Park's Stanley Kleiner Activity Center.
Under an agreement with the city of Lancaster, the YMCA is leasing the parkland for $1 a year for 50 years.
In exchange, the YMCA will provide partial or full fee waivers to families and individuals who could not otherwise afford to pay for the center's programs.
Among the money to go toward the new building is $1.5 million paid by Desert Christian Schools last year for a 30-year-old former YMCA building in Lancaster, which the school had leased for seven years.
The school gymnasium is continuing to accommodate YMCA community basketball leagues under a five-year lease. The YMCA also has a center in Palmdale.
Charles F. Bostwick, (661) 267-5742