YMCA unveils downtown master plan, community challenge

Donor will match up to $500,000 from community.

ROCKFORD – The YMCA of Rock River Valley unveiled its long-term vision and plans for the I.D. Pennock Family YMCA and is asking for the community’s support to preserve this downtown staple through a phased capital campaign.

Long-time YMCA supporters Rick and Lana Engen are kicking off the campaign with a community challenge that aims to raise the first $1 million. The Engens will match each gift up to $500,000.

“As the greater Rockford area transforms to become a top 25 community, we believe the YMCA of Rock River Valley plays a crucial role in that transformation,” said Michelle Gorham, Chief Advancement Officer, YMCA of Rock River Valley. “We are so grateful to the Engens for their support and hope their generous gift will inspire others to join our effort to be a change agent that addresses some of the most vital community needs.”

The downtown facility was built in 1964. Over the years, the 160-thousand square foot building has changed and evolved. In order to sustain for generations to come, the Y conducted a master planning process to reveal the best use of the space now and into the future.

“We have been members of the Y for 39 years and, while we love this organization, we can see it’s time for some upgrades,” said Rick Engen, YMCA board member and donor. “We are proud of the Y’s role in this community and want to be a part of its continued evolution. We hope the community accepts our challenge and supports one of the region’s oldest organizations.”

The location of the I.D. Pennock Family YMCA offers several attributes that the Y hopes to better leverage. The first is the river front view. Part of the vision is to open up the building to capitalize on those views. Another asset is visibility along North Second Street. There are plans for expansion and renovations to open up that side of the building so people feel more invited into the activity. The third asset is the size of the building that offers many opportunities for potential partnerships.

“We are fortunate to have a large Y by today’s standards. That means that we have the opportunity to bring people in and make Y programs and activities more accessible to everyone no matter their age or where the live,” said Mike Brown, CEO and President, YMCA of Rock River Valley. “The Y really is for everyone and we need our community’s help to make it even more relevant today and into the future.”

During the master planning process, the Y identified the below projects to take place in the first phase. The Y is seeking $5 million in partner contributions to see the following projects through to completion.

• Pool Upgrade: improve mechanicals, add new slides, windows and pool deck.

• Main Lobby Renovation: improves accessibility and member experience.

• Third Floor Reconfiguration: accommodate a new partner organization to be announced (partner to pay portion). Repurpose other spaces for youth and family programming – including teen center.

• Adventure Park Addition: space will include a trampoline park, indoor high ropes course, party rooms, a new entrance on the east side of the facility. Will be open to community for fee.

• First Floor Reconfiguration: addition of space for a new partner on the first floor including renovation of existing fitness center for partner (partner will pay for their portion of remodel), and a new corridor connecting the main lobby to the new fitness center addition.

• Main Gym Renovations: new basketball courts and new flooring, skylights to improve lighting, reconfiguration of exercise studios and wall climbing area, and renovation of Teen Center to become a transient locker area and level floor.

• Racquetball Reconfiguration: install LED fixtures in racquetball courts, reconfigure two courts into exercise studios (keeping four courts) and add windows to exercise studios.

• Riverfront Wellness Space: build enclosed structure with roof and insulated windows to overlook the Rock River and take advantage of this space as an area for programming and class space.

For more information on the capital campaign or to donate contact Michelle Gorham, Chief Advancement Officer, at 779-800-0800 or missionadvancement@rockriverymca.org.

–YMCA of the Rock River Valley

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