by Risell Ventura I Sunday, August 15th, 2021
KEARNEY, Neb. — The Kearney YMCA announced their expansion plans on Sunday, expecting completion by 2023.
The idea for the expansion “Healthier Tomorrow” started in 2017 but because of COVID-19, the project was stopped in 2020. Now it’s back up and running.
According to Ray Longoria, CEO of the Kearney YMCA, they plan on spending $8.8 million. So far, they’ve reached 70 percent of that. He said this expansion will benefit everyone in town.
“We want to focus on what the expansion is going to do to our community, how it’s going to impact people in our community, for kids ages two years old to individuals who are 102 or 100 plus, and that’s what’s all about. It’s giving us the opportunity to impact more people in our community,” said Longoria.
The 26,000 square foot expansion will include a new wellness center, classroom spaces, activity rooms, a community kitchen and more.
Longoria said the new community kitchen will help the YMCA teach kids how to cook, teach individuals how to properly eat, how to properly prepare a meal, and also focus on fighting hunger in the community.
According to Kearney resident Jeanne Wollberg, this expansion also offers new opportunities.
“As I get older and we have other generations coming forward, it’s very exciting to see that there’s gonna be new adventures for them and new opportunities for everyone,” said Wollberg.
YMCA board members said they would appreciate the help of volunteers in the community as well as donations to finish the project.
“This is a community project and we are going to need the community to help out,” said Longoria.
Longoria said the YMCA will be able to do some healthy living programs, food nutrition programs, and community food programs after it’s all said and done.