More than a hundred people are expected to witness the grand opening of the Whitehall Community Park YMCA, 402 N. Hamilton Road, at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 22.
"We are excited about finally opening this beautiful facility and bringing opportunities to our residents that didn't exist in the past," said Shannon Sorrell, director of the Whitehall Parks and Recreation Department.
Tony Collins, president and CEO of the YMCA of Central Ohio, is expected to join Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard and other leaders in speaking at the event, after which the facility will open to the public.
The Community Park YMCA is "a modern and bright" facility that will "provide common ground for people from all across our community," Maggard said.
"The mixed-use turf gymnasium allows for a multitude of activities for all ages," she said.
The $6.5 million Community Park YMCA, announced by the city in October 2017, includes a 4,000-square-foot indoor artificial-turf field designed for youth soccer, as well as a "teaching kitchen" in which children and families can enroll in cooking classes and learn about nutrition.
A multipurpose room provides a place to read or study and a wellness center has fitness equipment.
The Community Park YMCA is designed in a manner that maximizes natural light, and from almost any viewpoint, patrons can see into the adjacent Whitehall Community Park, said Tina Badurina, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the YMCA of Central Ohio.
"Each of our YMCAs is unique in its own way, but our Community Park YMCA is a new gold standard for (future) YMCAs," Badurina said.
Whitehall funded the $6.5 million construction cost and provided the site, but the YMCA of Central Ohio furnished the building and will fund its operating costs, including staffing, Badurina said.
The 25,600-square-foot facility is more than twice the size of the park's 10,500-square-foot activity building, constructed in 1962, onto which the YMCA was added.
The YMCA will partner with the city and school district for after-school programming, Badurina said.
"There will be so many things at the fingertips to keep our youth busy," Sorrell said.
"It's more than a YMCA. It is a place for (kids) to call their own."
Maggard said she is particularly pleased that the city's youth will have high-quality programming and opportunities.
"I am proud of the after-school programming for middle school and young high school (students), which will support education and appropriate social interaction," Maggard said.
"There is something for everyone," Sorrell said.
The grand-opening ceremony kicks off a weekend of activities, including program demonstrations, building tours and family activities, Badurina said.