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April 27, 2021 - 2:34pm

YMCA sets public fundraising goal of $1 million as Healthy Living Campus project moves forward

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With close to 80 percent of its fundraising goal of $14 million in hand, the principals of the Healthy Living Campus for Downtown Batavia this morning announced the start of a public “community challenge” to bring in an additional $1 million.

“Today, on behalf of the GLOW YMCA, I am excited to announce that we are launching the public phase of the “Transforming Lives” campaign,” said Rob Walker, chief executive officer of the GLOW YMCA. “This campaign will allow the Y to build a Healthy Living Campus in Downtown Batavia, in partnership with Rochester Regional Health’s United Memorial Medical Center.”

The $30 million project, which is a key component of the city’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award from New York State, will integrate services provided by the two entities under one extremely large roof. Construction is slated to begin this fall, with completion anticipated for some time in 2023.

The two-story building will cover a distance starting just east of the current YMCA and extending all the way to Wiard Street. Twenty thousand square feet of space will be available for hospital services and 60,000 square feet of space will be utilized by the YMCA.

Walker, during a 30-minute event for local media, said the YMCA “dedicated” volunteers have raised more than $11 million toward our $14 million fundraising goal.

“With us nearing the goal, we are now here to ask the community for support to help us reach our public phase goal of $1 million,” he said. “In addition, we are excited to share a donor match challenge. With the generous support of Peter Zeliff, we have a community challenge to support the new YMCA. Until September 2021, his support will match dollar-for-dollar all new gifts up to $500,000.”

Zeliff: We Need the Y for the Kids

Contacted by telephone this afternoon, Zeliff, chair of the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board of Directors and developer of the Oakwood Estates housing complex on East Main Street Road, said that in his view, it's all about providing opportunities for youth.

"I’ve lived in this area pretty much all of my life. I was born here and raised here, and I really think that this community needs the Y – mainly for kids," he said. "So, kids can have someplace to go and something to do. I believe in that project and I believe it will be good for Batavia and it will be good for Genesee County."

Zeliff said it is remarkable that $11 million has been raised thus far.

"When we started working on the Y project, myself and a bunch of other people thought that was an awful big ask for Genesee County residents to raise $14 million here. But, we’ve already raised over $11 million and that’s pretty amazing," he said.

Walker said that the timing of the project will “ultimately be determined by completion of the capital campaign.”

He then read a list of the planned services, starting with a state-of-the-art wellness center, indoor pool, group exercise studios, and gymnasium with indoor walking/running track.

Other features include a teaching kitchen, indoor playground, youth spaces, living room, and meeting rooms.

Integrated Services Under One Roof

“Our partnership with UMMC will provide primary care, behavioral health/crisis intervention services, telemedicine integration, cancer prevention outreach services, chronic illness services, and education services all in the same facility,” he said, noting that co-located services will include chronic disease management, rehabilitation, mental health, and community education.

“The new Y is for the children, adults, and families in our community. It will be a place for people from all walks of life to come together, gather and improve the quality of life,” he said.

UMMC President Dan Ireland predicted the Healthy Living Campus will be “a dynamic change to Downtown Batavia.”

“A thoughtful process has been undertaken to determine how to bring the right services that will complement each other,” he said. “So, as we look at our primary care center, which will grow and expand from what we offer today at Batavia Primary Care, it will allow more patient access, but also allow our doctors, our nurses, our resident physicians to leverage the work with the Y and integrate wellness and fitness into the regimens they use to care for patients.

“It’s a perfect match as we try to look holistically at people’s health to be able to then to work with Rob’s team to create ways and pathways for people to continue their journey to a healthier lifestyle.”

Ireland said an emphasis will be on cancer screenings, diabetic care, healthy eating, and education.

“There are a lot of ways to bring that all together, inclusive of our Baby Café, which will help breastfeeding moms – maybe the first time or subsequent times as they’re trying to work through the struggles that some people experience with breastfeeding, as well as leveraging from the childcare services that the YMCA offers for patients who are coming for visits at the hospital,” he explained.

Project Rep: Going for That Urban Feel

David Ciurzynski, design consultant and representative for both organizations, spoke about the look of the building prior to the fundraising appeal.

“We’re trying to bring in elements of the brick and the glass,” he said. “The brick is going to highlight the brick buildings and brick facades that we currently have on Main Street, Batavia – playing homage to the Seymour Building (GO ART! headquarters), which is a historic building. And then we have the glass and the panels, trying to mix of materials that give that urban feel – that modern, bright, fresh look that we want to achieve.”

Ciurzynski also reported on the last week’s initial site plan review by the City of Batavia Planning and Development Committee, stating the purpose was to help the PDC understand the status of the design process and to gain insight from the committee members.

“We are encouraged by their thoughtful questions and comments, such as the desire to enhance the project from Main Street,” he said. “We are working with the design team at CPL (Clark Patterson Lee) to develop concepts that enhance the entrance and Main Street courtyard. It is our hope that weather permitting, this courtyard can be utilized as an extension of our indoor program and activities.”

Board Director: A Transformative Build

Paul Marchese, chair of the Genesee Area YMCA Board of Directors, said he sees the campus as “the most transformative and impactive build in my history – and I’ve been living here all of my life.”

“I’m happy to support this project, which will significantly change Downtown. It is one of many investments that are going to reinvigorate Downtown. We think that our membership will significantly increase in factors. It is an amazing structure,” he said.

Walker said the YMCA was last renovated in 1975, He said he expects Downtown activity to triple once the campus is complete.

Plans call for the current YMCA to stay open until the new building is finished, meaning that there will be no disruption in services.

Others on hand for the announcement were Christopher White, chair of the GLOW YMCA Board of Directors; Paul Battaglia, capital campaign chair; and John Riter, capital campaign cochair.

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Photo at top: Rob Walker addresses the media this morning. Middle: Walker and David Ciurzynski; Bottom: Dan Ireland and Walker. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

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