WESTPORT, Conn. – Construction on the new Westport Weston Y facility is expected to break ground within the next several weeks now that Y officials have received a zoning permit from the town.
Securing the zoning permit was a major step in the process because it allowed Turner Construction Co., the Y’s contractor, to apply for a building permit -- the final permit needed, said Jim Marpe, chairman of the Y’s Board of Trustees. Once the building permit is granted, Turner Construction can break ground, Marpe said.
“Getting the zoning permit energized the Board of Trustees, the Board of Directors and, I think, a fair percentage of our membership,” he said. “Something is now physically beginning to happen after all these years of planning and seeking approvals.”
The Y has approval to build a 102,000-square-foot facility at its 32-acre Mahackeno Outdoor Center. Instead of being built all at once, the new facility will be constructed in phases, starting with a 54,000-square-foot building.
It is not known exactly when construction on this first phase will begin, Marpe said, but it will be “relatively soon.” The new building has to be open by late next year — when the Y must vacate its facility at 59 Post Road E. The downtown facility was sold in 2006 to Bedford Square Associates, which is planning to transform the property into a mixed-use development .
The first new building will include a wellness center, gymnasium, three fitness studios, a child watch/adventure gym area and five locker rooms as well as an expanded aquatics center, said Marpe. The 25-yard competitive lap pool, now eight lanes at the Y’s current facility, will be 10 lanes at the new facility. The warm-water pool will be increased by 7 feet in width and more than 70 percent by water volume.
With the expanded aquatics center, the cost to construct this new building is $38.5 million, Y CEO Rob Reeves said in a recent email to Y supporters. About 90 percent of that money has been secured in various ways, Marpe said, including private donations to the Y’s “Building What Matters” capital campaign, the sale of the current facility and the “Just Add Water” campaign for the aquatics center.
With the zoning permit in place, Y officials are optimistic more people will support the new facility.
“Now that there’s tangible evidence this is all happening, we will be able go back people who have expressed interest in substantially supporting the project, but were a little reluctant to sign the dotted line since there was some uncertainty that this would happen,” Marpe said.
For more information about supporting the Y's "Building What Matters" capital campaign, contact Paul Bernetksy, chief development officer, at 203-226-8981, Ext. 115, or firstname.lastname@example.org . For information about the "Just Add Water" campaign, contact Nicole Turechek, aquatics director, at 203-226-8981, Ext. 128, or at email@example.com .