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New Family Y Project Stays Alive in Westport

WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport and Weston residents worried about the future of the Family Y can breathe a sigh of relief. Y officials have voted to forge ahead with plans to build a modern new facility at their Mahackeno Outdoor Center, a statement announced Tuesday.

The Y’s Board of Directors and Board of Trustees unanimously voted to move forward with the project Monday night, almost three months after it was publicly announced that $6 million more in funding was needed to keep the project alive.

“This is momentous news for our Y’s future and for the communities we serve,” said Bonnie Strittmatter, president of the board of directors. We’ve passed a significant milestone, and our boards are optimistic that the progress we’ve made with fundraising will continue until we reach our goal of fully funding the first phase of our building project by the time construction starts.”

At a March 19 public meeting, Family Y officials announced that a “significant” portion of $6.2 million needed to be raised by May 11 in order to begin construction on the new main facility at Mahackeno in the fall. If a significant amount of funds was not raised by the deadline, the future of the Y was uncertain, Y officials had said.

Since that announcement, more than 115 contributions totaling $4.4 million have been received, according to a statement from the Y.  In all, more than $34 million in funding has been identified, including proceeds from the impending sale of the current downtown facility. About $3.4 million more is needed to meet the estimated $37.5 million cost of cnstructing the first phase of the project.

“We’re optimistic that the boards’ decision to move forward will motivate Y supporters who until now have been in a ‘wait-and-see’ mode toward giving,” said Family Y CEO Rob Reeves.  “Every dollar donated from this point forward makes for a better Y.”

To keep pace with fundraising, Y officials in February announced that the planned 102,000-square-foot facility would be built in phases. Phase 1 of the project involves the construction of a main, 55,000-square-foot building at Mahackeno. This building will include a lap pool and warm-water family/teaching pool; a health and wellness center; gymnasium; three group-fitness studios; a Child Watch/Kids’ Adventure Gym area; locker rooms and other amenities.

Construction is expected to begin in the fall, and the building is expected to open in November 2014.

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