The developers of Evans Farm plan to set aside a portion of the expansive Orange Township neighborhood for a new YMCA facility.
The YMCA of Central Ohio announced in late August that Daniel Griffin and Tony Eyerman, partners in Evans Farm Land Development Co., have pledged to reserve 8 to 10 acres at the site for the building.
Evans Farm will sit on about 1,250 acres north of Lewis Center Road in Berlin and Orange townships. The community, which will be based on the tenets of the New Urbanism design movement, will have a focus on walkability and a mix of commercial and residential uses.
Brian Kridler, a senior vice president with the YMCA of Central Ohio, said the pledge of a site is "an important first and necessary step" toward a Lewis Center YMCA.
"The folks at Evans Farm have been incredibly generous with their support," he said.
Evans Farm's developers cited the possible new Y facility as another distinctive amenity for the neighborhood.
"We are following New Urbanism principles such as walkability, interconnected streets and a traditional neighborhood structure that promotes a strong sense of community spirit," Griffin said in a statement. "Everyone agrees the Y is a perfect fit for this model."
Although the actual site for the facility has not been finalized, Kridler said, Y officials expect it will be in the southwestern portion of the development, adjacent to the commercial district just north of Lewis Center Road.
Kridler said he hopes constructing the building near the entrance of Evans Farm would help attract visitors from throughout Orange Township and beyond. He said putting the facility in the center of the site might scare some potential members away.
"It (would) feel to folks like they have to drive into somebody else's neighborhood to go to the Y," he said.
The YMCA of Central Ohio's board is expected to vote in the fall on advancing the project. Kridler said the acquisition of a site and the community's support for the proposal should make the decision an easy one.
"I don't anticipate that there's going to be any resistance to us moving forward up there," he said.
Construction of the Y could wrap up as early as 2020, but the project is contingent on the completion of a successful fundraising campaign.
Kridler said Y officials are working to finalize details for the campaign, which could launch early next year.
Individuals looking to provide feedback on the project or volunteer should join the "Friends of a Lewis Center YMCA" Facebook page, Kridler said.
Workers are expected to complete initial infrastructure work for the first phase of Evans Farm in the fall. The site's first businesses and homes are expected to rise shortly after street and stormwater projects are finished.