Q: I’m hearing that the Y is going to renovate, what’s going on?
A: The New Canaan YMCA is currently raising funds to support a renovation to the existing building. Our Y is challenged with aging and oversubscribed aquatic and locker room facilities, inadequate gym and family space for community recreation, and the demand for wellness facilities to meet the evolving needs of our community.
Through this renovation, our Y will be transformed into a more open, supportive, and accessible destination for our community to come together to stay healthy, happy, and connected with each other.
Details of the renovation include fixing a deteriorating rear half of the building, which has not been renovated in over 40 years, including renovating and rebuilding our pools and renovating the locker rooms. Other renovations to current space will include updating the existing gyms, wellness areas, and repurposing space throughout the facility for families and individuals of all ages.
The renovation addresses both our Y’s current facility challenges, as well as current community challenges, providing us with the capability to continue to serve our community for generations to come.
Q: What’s the status with fundraising?
A: We are excited and extremely grateful for the community support we have received to date, making this $20 million project possible. It is the largest fundraising effort ever conducted by our Y and one of the most successful fundraising campaigns to take place in New Canaan. We are thrilled with the level of support we have received from the community thus far, which has made it possible to proceed toward a December groundbreaking, and we are still actively seeking community support to help fund the project.
Our goal is within reach and we are currently seeking fifty individuals to join this exciting and historic community project by each donating $20,000 to the campaign. Gifts can be pledged and paid over a period of up to five years—a gift of $4,000 a year can have a lasting and meaningful impact right here within our community. Community members can also become a part of this exciting project by purchasing a commemorative brick.
Q: How can I support the campaign?
A: Click here to learn how you can help make our vision a reality and build a stronger future for our Y and community or contact the Y’s Development Office at 203-966-4528, ext. 162 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Does the Y receive any funding from the national YMCA organization or from the state?
A: No. We are relying on the support of our community to make this vision a reality.
Q: What are the goals of the renovation? Is this to increase membership and/or become a regional Y facility?
A: No, our goal is to improve our current member experience and to be able to better serve the Y’s members and community by addressing failing infrastructure and realigning the antiquated parts of the building with contemporary needs and standards. We have heard member feedback and requests for updated facilities over the past few years and are happy to be able to address many of these requests through this project for our members and the community.
Additionally, Fairfield County is fortunate to have a number of YMCA facilities in the surrounding towns, each serving their own designated areas, just as we serve New Canaan. Several of these facilities are also either currently undergoing renovations or have recently completed renovations themselves to bring their buildings up to contemporary standards. With this, there is no need or ambition for the New Canaan YMCA to extend our service area and we look forward to being able to identify and better address the specific needs of our community through this renovation. There are also no plans to increase the number of swim meets held at our Y with our new pools.
Q: What about the parking lot? Will you add spaces?
A: The Y has conducted a comprehensive parking study by an independent traffic and parking expert to determine the current and projected need for parking spaces. The report was included in our application to the Planning and Zoning Commission and recommends an additional 67 spaces. The Planning and Zoning Commission has the final authority to advise if and how many additional parking spaces should be included in the plan, and approved the addition of 20 spaces. Following the completion of construction, if additional parking is needed, the Y may go back to the Planning and Zoning Commission with this request.
Q: What’s happening with the Men’s and Women’s Centers ?
A: Our renovation of the locker rooms provides us with the opportunity to make amenities that are currently only available in our Men’s and Women’s Centers available to all adults in our new Over 18 Health Centers, including towel service, steam room, sauna, etc. With this plan, members will no longer need to purchase a separate membership for these services.
Q: Will property taxes be increased to fund this project?
A: No. The New Canaan YMCA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and does not receive funding through property taxes. We will rely on the financial support of our members and the community to fund this project.
Q: When will construction begin?
A: We will be breaking ground in October 2015.
Q: How will members be affected?
A: We are working with our construction company to phase the project accordingly so that construction has the least impact on our members as possible. We are dedicated to maintaining our level of member service and reducing inconvenience as much as possible during this construction period. We do not anticipate needing to close the facility at any time. We are working to phase the scheduling of the pool construction and renovation so that at least one pool is always available to our members.
The Valles competition pool will remain open for the 2015-2016 season. For those who require warm water, we will be working with other nearby Y’s and facilities to provide services to our members while our warm pool is under construction, we will alert members and program participants to this timing and available options once confirmed. Locker room renovation is also scheduled to be phased so that some locker rooms are available at all times during construction. The renovation of our wellness areas, the gym, and family activity center will also each be scheduled with our members’ needs as a priority.
We will be sure to keep our members updated throughout the construction process regarding any updates and alternative options during interruptions.
Q: Are you working with the Y neighbors at all to address their concerns?
A: Representatives from the Y’s Board of Directors began working with representatives of the Y’s neighbors in the fall of 2011 regarding this project. The groups worked together to identify and address concerns the neighbors have with the logistics of the project. In 2011, the parties agreed to several points regarding the project, all of which the Y is upholding. These include:
- No permanent additional driveway access will be included off Putnam Road.
- Y Parking will not take place on Putnam Road.
- Y will keep similar exterior lighting, noise, and landscaping details as to not detract from the residential feel of the neighborhood.
- Positioning of the HVAC and other mechanical units as far from Putnam Road as possible.
- An 18,000 square foot increase to the footprint will be allowed. The Y’s plan only calls for an approximate 14,000 square foot increase.
Representatives from the Y also met with neighbor representatives frequently in the fall of 2013 sharing the details of the renovation plan in preparation for the application submission to Planning and Zoning. Understanding and respecting concerns voiced by the neighbor representatives at these meetings, the Y has agreed to explore options to minimize the impact felt during the construction process.
Q: What is the status with Planning and Zoning?
A: The Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to approve the Y’s application on April 29. As expected, conditions were included with the approval, all of which we believe are manageable and/or had already been incorporated into our design and construction plans.