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YMCA

The future could be golf at former Watertown YMCA building

in Local News/Sports 92 views

Ives Hill Country Club owner Jake Johnson is the potential buyer in the process of acquiring the former YMCA building.

He has a $450,000 purchase offer on the two-story, brick building at 119 Washington St.

Johnson, who owns Ives Hill Country Club on West Flower Avenue, plans to transform the building’s interior into an indoor golf business, where golfers can improve their game “all year round,” he said.

After the season is over, golfers will still be able to play digitally on the Ives Hill Country Club golf course inside the old Y during all times of the year, Johnson said.

“It’ll be like they’re playing at Ives Hill,” he said.

The Watertown Local Development Corp.’s Revolving Loan Committee on Wednesday morning approved a $150,000 loan that will be used to purchase the old YMCA building. The loan will go to the full Watertown Trust board today.

Donald W. Rutherford, the Watertown Trust’s CEO, called the deal “a straight real estate transaction” and a “fairly low risk” for the Trust on the loan.

In August, Johnson purchased nine of the 18 holes at Ives Hill for $1.9 million from P.J. Simao. Johnson has completed substantial improvements to the golf course and renovated the clubhouse before opening it in December.

The golf course under Johnson’s ownership will open for the season this spring.

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Watertown Blue Sharks host swimming championship at brand new YMCA aquatic center

in Event/Sports 65 views

Watertown brought home numerous first place finishes as hundreds of people walked through the doors of the new downtown YMCA this weekend for the CNY YMCA District Swimming Championship.

The Watertown YMCA Blue Sharks finished first overall in 8 and under girls, 8 and under boys, ages 9 to 10 boys, and ages 15 to 19 girls. The only team with more first place finishes was Auburn with five.

Seven YMCAs took part in the event with the Norwich, Fulton, Corland, Oneida, and Oneonta YMCAs joining Watertown and Auburn.

The event drew in so many people that tickets were given out to control the number of people by the pool. Once a spectator’s swimmer was done, they were to return to the pickleball court, where the swimmers were staged so another family could watch their swimmer.

Even though they weren’t poolside, spectators could still watch what was going on in the pool because of a flat screen television livestreaming the meet. Another television was on near the pool’s glass window viewing area and the event was also livestreamed on YouTube.

Seven YMCAs took part in the event.

Watertown Blue Sharks Coach Lori Peters said the setup for the meet was “perfect.”

She said it was also nice because the meet could be “contained” to the pool half of the YMCA.

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Buyer interested in former YMCA building

in Local News/Place 542 views

A potential buyer is interested in acquiring the former YMCA building on Washington Street.

Shawna Cutuli, the Y’s CEO, confirmed that the YMCA “is entertaining an offer” from a potential prospect. Y officials have been showing the building to potential buyers, she said.

Cutuli declined to identify the potential buyer or the status of sale of the building.

The two-story brick building is listed for just under $800,000. It has a current assessment of $1,096,000.

The building became available when the YMCA opened its new $27.5 million downtown community and aquatics center on Arsenal Street in December.

The building houses a pool and fitness center. The Y is still using some of the building for a children’s program.

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YMCA dedicates aquatics center to late board member

in People/Place/Sports 87 views

With a substantial financial shortfall looming, Maxine Quigg convinced the other Watertown Family YMCA board members to continue to pursue the aquatics and community center that they all had envisioned.

On Tuesday night, KI LaClair remembered how her friend persuaded them not to scale back to a two-lane pool when there was not enough funding to move forward for a larger aquatics center.

About 75 people gathered on Tuesday night in the new aquatics center that features a state-of-the-art six-lane lap pool that now bears Quigg’s name.

Friends, Y board members and community leaders honored her during the dedication in the 10,500-square-foot addition.

LaClair credited her friend for the way she talked board members not to give up on the project that was originally proposed.

“Maxine was not having it,” she said.

She thought it was too important of a project for the Y, downtown and the entire community, LaClair recalled.

Her friend would be proud of the Community and Aquatics center that will open in a few short weeks, she said.

The Y will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 11 for the new $27.5 million facility in the former Woolworth store-turned-call-center at 146 Arsenal St.

It features a six-lane lap pool and adjacent recreational pool, multi-sport courts, an indoor track, a wellness center, classrooms and child watch facilities.

But the dedication was bittersweet.

In 2021, Quigg and her business partner Terence M. O’Brien were shot and killed by a former employee in her Clinton Street real estate office.

She was a successful real estate broker, community and business leader in Jefferson County.

Another friend, Mark Lavarnway, read a letter from Quigg’s husband, Joseph. Her family members could not be there Tuesday night, but they were able to take a private tour of the new facility last week.

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Grand opening for new YMCA downtown community center set for Dec. 11

in Uncategorized 136 views

The grand opening for the Watertown Family YMCA’s new downtown community center will be Dec. 11.

The $27.5 million new Y will officially open its doors to the public at 5 a.m. on Dec. 11.

On that same day, YMCA officials. local dignitaries and community leaders will come together for ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m.

“Come and be a part of these momentous occasions and help us kick off a new chapter in our community’s health and well-being,” CEO Denise Young said in a press release announcing the grand opening.

Construction has been ongoing for about a year and a half to turn the former department store-turned call center into a community and aquatics center.

Y members can take a tour of the new facility from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 9, and the public is invited to an open house from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 10.

The new Y will feature a natatorium with a six-lane lap pool and adjacent recreational pool in a 10,500-square-foot addition, multi-sport courts, indoor track, wellness center, classrooms and child watch facilities.

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Sneak peek of Watertown YMCA’s downtown community center

in Local News 271 views

Denise K. Young can sum up in five words what the $27.5 million downtown community center will be like when it opens in December.

“It’s going to be magnificent,” the Watertown YMCA’s chief executive officer said.

Earlier this week, the Watertown Daily Times got a first look at the community and aquatics center during a tour of the project at 146 Arsenal St.

With about 75% of the project finished, Young said: “As of right now, construction is on budget and on time, so we’re in good shape.”

The project is slated to be completed in November when the Y will take over the property with plans to open in December.

Construction has been ongoing for more than a year to turn the former department store-turned call center into a community center that is expected to draw hundreds of people every day.

Shawn Bryant, site superintendent for Purcell Construction, said between 35 and 50 workers are at the site every day.

The new facility will enable the YMCA to host state-level competitive swim meets, expand preventative health services in the community, and enhance programs and amenities.

The new Y will feature a natatorium with a six-lane lap pool and adjacent recreational pool, multi-sport courts, indoor track, wellness center, classrooms and child watch facilities.

Work continues on a 10,500-square-foot addition where lap and recreation pools will be situated.

Family members watching their children swim will enter into the pool area directly to a set of bleachers so they will never get wet. Thanks to state-of-the-art equipment, the whiff of chlorine also won’t fill the air of the natatorium, Young said. That old pool smell permeated public pools for generations, she recalled.

But not at the new facility, she said.

In February, the Y and the Blue Sharks swim team will host its first district meet ever in the facility.

When entering the 99,000-square-foot building through the main entrance, Y guests will be greeted near the welcome center with a social area where they can sit and relax.

Several murals will adorn walls throughout the facility, including some that feature scenes of the Adirondack Mountains and another showing the history of the Y and its connection to Fort Drum.

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YMCA to break ground today on downtown pool project

in Event/Local News/Place 399 views

WATERTOWN — The Watertown Family YMCA will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. today for its $27.5 million downtown community and aquatics center.

The new center will feature a natatorium with a six-lane lap pool and adjacent recreational pool, multi-sport courts, indoor track, wellness center, classrooms and child watch facilities.

The project is expected to be completed in November 2023.

Also today, YMCA officials will host a groundbreaking and storytelling reception at the Savory Downtown restaurant from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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Groundbreaking for YMCA project set for Wednesday

in Local News/Place 428 views

WATERTOWN — The Watertown Family YMCA will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Wednesday for its $27.5 million downtown community and aquatics center.

The new center will feature a natatorium with a six-lane lap pool and adjacent recreational pool, multi-sport courts, indoor track, wellness center, classrooms and child watch facilities.

The project is expected to be completed in November 2023.

Also on Wednesday, YMCA officials will host a groundbreaking and storytelling reception at the Savory Downtown restaurant from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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Watertown YMCA closes 109-year-old downtown pool

in Place 388 views

WATERTOWN — For 109 years, generations of area residents have learned how to swim in the lap pool at the downtown YMCA.

But that long history with the community has come to an end.

The Watertown Family YMCA Board of Directors has announced that the pool that served so many will be closed permanently after a structural evaluation determined it was no longer safe.

The pool recently was drained and won’t be refilled, YMCA CEO Denise K. Young said.

Results of the most recent assessment recommended the closure and decommissioning of the pool to ensure the safety of members and guests, she said.

With the age of the lap pool, the YMCA has “done due diligence and conducted structural assessments twice in the past five years,” she said.

Despite the lap pool’s closure, the YMCA will offer lap pool swim opportunities at varying times in the recreational pool at the downtown center.

The Watertown High School pool also will be open to lap pool swimmers from 6:15 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. during the week, by appointment only through GroupEx PRO at the YMCA beginning on July 5.

The downtown facility’s lap pool has been a community asset for more than a century.

Five generations of Jefferson County residents learned to swim at the YMCA.

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Legislators vote down funding for Watertown YMCA project

in Local Business/Local News 683 views

WATERTOWN — The Jefferson County Board of Legislators on Tuesday voted down funding to renovate the former call center building on Arsenal Street, calling the entire future of the Watertown Family YMCA’s planned aquatic center project into question.

The plan was that the county would provide $880,000 in funding from its $22 million American Rescue Plan Act allocation to the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency, which owns the building.

The $880,000 would be used to rebuild the walls, bathrooms and floors of the building, which was gutted last year to remove dangerous PCB chemicals found underneath the flooring. The IDA would sell the building to the Watertown Family YMCA after the renovations. The YMCA would then begin work on its estimated $27.5 million aquatic center, which would install two large pools inside the building, as well as support, programming and event spaces.

Jefferson County Economic Development CEO David J. Zembiec, who oversees the IDA, said the future of the project now depends on the Watertown Family YMCA’s board of directors.

“They have to vote if they want to move forward with this project or not,” Mr. Zembiec said after Tuesday’s vote.

If the YMCA board decides to move forward, it will have to find another way to finance the repair work. Board representatives could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

If the YMCA board votes to drop the project, then the IDA has several options. It can sell the building as is, with the flooring and lower 4 feet of drywall removed. The building is also without an electric service room, and will require wiring and equipment to be installed to power it. The IDA could also strip even more of the interior structure out of the building to make it more marketable.

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