NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - With the help of a pair of local state Assembly members, the New Rochelle YMCA has found its “lifesavers” and its pool will remain open after receiving $1 million in state grants.
Assembly members Amy Paulin and Steve Otis have each secured $500,000 in grant funds through the state’s Dormitory Authority to cap off the YMCA’s “Be a Lifesaver” campaign to replace the damaged roof over the pool.
The YMCA was forced to close the door to its pool last year, when damage to the ceiling and roof was discovered by contractors, who were in the process of removing the pool’s drop roof, which is no longer permitted due to the moisture that builds up.
During the investigation into the damage, engineers found that the moisture buildup caused severe damage to several corroded steel beams that served as support for the roof structure, forcing a complete replacement of the roof, at an estimated cost of $1.3 million.
In order to secure the necessary bank loans, the YMCA had to raise a minimum of $400,000 to offset costs of the construction project. Paulin and Otis went above and beyond that, locking down the final funding after nearly $275,000 had been raised during several fundraising events in the past few months.
“The New Rochelle YMCA is an essential recreational facility in the city,” Paulin said. “The pool is central to its mission and used by young and old alike. It is unthinkable that it could be shut down, and I will work diligently with the community to see that it stays open.”
According to Julie Gallanty, the chief executive officer of the YMCA, the “Be a Lifesaver” campaign is one of the most important in the organization’s history in New Rochelle. As one of the major sources of revenue for the YMCA, if the pool had been forced to close, the entire building may have been boarded up.
Due to its status as an independent YMCA, the New Rochelle branch does not receive support from the larger, national YMCA organization. Because of this distinction, officials were forced to reach out to the community and elected officials to save the place that has served the area for more than three decades.
With the money raised, work is expected to commence at the pool as soon as next week. It is unclear when it will be reopened to the public.
“This fundraiser was the most critical in the Y’s 30-year-history,” she said. “Unfortunately, the reality is, if we don’t raise these funds, our pool would have to close for good, and since it is a major source of funding for us, we would have to close our doors to the community entirely.”