The new Community Park YMCA, dubbed the "gold standard" for future YMCAs, is expected to open by the end of November at Whitehall Community Park, 402 N. Hamilton Road.

When completed, the Community Park YMCA will be 26,500 square feet, including the original 10,500-square-foot activities building Whitehall constructed in 1962.

Though the facility is at least three months away from welcoming residents, the YMCA of Central Ohio already is selling memberships.

The first membership was purchased Aug. 19 by Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard.

"The Community Park YMCA will bring opportunities for our youth, day camps, after-school programming for middle and high school students, STEM classes, sports, social activities and leadership opportunities for teenagers," Maggard said.

For young adults and families, she said, the YMCA will provide lifestyle programs, cooking classes, creative arts, disease prevention, exercise classes and other opportunities.

YMCA officials said the new Community Park YMCA will provide a variety of amenities that, for now, are unique to the facility in central Ohio.

"(The Community Park YMCA) is partnering with the city, focusing on youth and teens, and providing a safe place for kids to go after school," said Tina Badurina, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the YMCA of Central Ohio.

Even prior to the announcement last year that the YMCA of Central Ohio would build the facility, it had collaborated with Whitehall to introduce programming at the activities building at Whitehall Community Park.

"(The YMCA) is already a part of the fabric of the Whitehall community, and this is the next step," Badurina said.

The $6.5 million facility will include a 4,000-square-foot indoor turf field -- something found only at the Community Park YMCA -- designed for youth soccer for children ages 6-10, said Rich Zingale, vice president of capital assets for the YMCA of Central Ohio.

The new YMCA will include a learning kitchen in which children and families can enroll in cooking classes and learn about nutrition.

A multipurpose room will give students a place to read or study, and a wellness zone will feature fitness equipment and televisions.

A teen center will cater to older students and include a gaming center, but "teens will also guide a little bit of what we will offer," Badurina said.

The new YMCA is designed in a manner that maximizes natural light, and from almost any viewpoint, patrons can see into the adjacent Whitehall Community Park, Badurina said.

"Each of our YMCAs is unique in its own way, but our Community Park YMCA is a new gold standard for other YMCAs across the country," she said.

Whitehall is paying for the $6.5 million construction and provided the site within a city park, but the YMCA will pay for the furnishings, fixtures and equipment as well as all of the facility's operating costs moving forward, including staffing, Badurina said.

Memberships may be purchased at a temporary office within the construction site at the park.

The office is open from 8 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays.

Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 4, the office also will be open from 3 to 7 p.m. Mondays.

Hours might expand again as the opening date approaches, Badurina said.

A $25 down payment will reserve a membership with no monthly payments due until the building opens.

Monthly rates range from $29 for an adult ages 18-29 or $37 for an adult age 30 or older, to $58 for a family membership.

Whitehall residents and those who work for the city of Whitehall will receive a 20% discount; senior citizens receive 10% off.

The YMCA of Central Ohio also offers financial assistance.

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