YMCA of Fox Cities begins renovation

Children participating in a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Downtown Appleton YMCA on December 14th, 2015. (WLUK/Alexa Santos)

Those coming into the Appleton YMCA will see changes over the coming months.

As a two million dollar renovation project has another ceremonial kickoff off Monday afternoon, similar to one in Greenville last week.

Bill Breider, President of YMCA of the Fox Cities, said, "At 175,000 square feet, we don't really have the opportunity to build out or up. Now, it's just enhancing these facilities."

Leaders with the YMCA say the priorities for this renovation involve accessibility and security.

Danielle Englebert, District Executive Director, said, "We'll have a covered ramp area, so our folks that are in wheelchairs, walkers, can get in and out of our building smoothly and safely. We'll be securing our childcare so that it will be an area that will really be set off to its own."

A new welcome center and member services area will also be put in place, and there will be improved fitness equipment.

Englebert said, "This building is 50 years old this year, so we wanted to give it a bit of a face lift."

Improvements that are coming at the request of its members.

Breider said, "We did an extensive study last year and found out what our members wanted."

And there's quite a few of those members.

Englebert said, "We alone have 12,000 members at this branch, but we're part of YMCA of the Fox Cities that actually has 43,000 members. In any day, we have about 2,000 people come through our building, so it's quite busy."

Which also plays a big role in the greater downtown area.

Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna said, "Think of the membership numbers in the downtown YMCA, all those people don't live right here, so they're coming in, they're coming into the city, coming into downtown. All those people, they don't just come here and leave, they support other businesses and economic things that are happening in downtown."

YMCA leaders say the renovations of all four locations will cost nine million dollars, but their fundraising right now is still about one million dollars short.

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