Residents of southern Boone County have had a place to go for recreation since early 2015, when the Southern Boone YMCA opened in April.
Since then, the eventual goal has been to construct a brand-new facility in Ashland. Currently, the YMCA operates out of a 6,800-square-foot facility that used to be the Home Movie Depot.
As the YMCA gained popularity with the community, the plan continued to develop. By the end of 2015, they had around 1,300 members.
In 2016, the YMCA purchased 15 acres of land, which they plan to use to build a permanent facility at Main Street and Liberty Lane. Recently, the plans changed to include a 4,500 square-foot turf room, bringing the total square footage to 17,860.
Due to the addition, the fundraising goal for the project has risen from $2.8 million to $3.9 million.
“It’s going to cost more money, but in turn, we can create many more programs and create opportunities with this multipurpose space,” said Kip Batye, the Southern Boone YMCA branch director.
The turf room was inspired by a similar one Batye used at William Woods University in Fulton. The school used it as a multipurpose space, and the one at the YMCA will be used similarly, Batye said.
One possibility for the space is the YMCA’s Kids Night Out program, a once-a-month night where the YMCA brings in children from the community to allow parents a night out of their own.
The new building will also include a fitness center, group fitness rooms, child care area, aquatic center, gymnasium and several outdoor areas including a walking trail, outdoor play area, football and soccer field, and baseball field, according to plans for the building.
Since fundraising began, the YMCA has collected $1.5 million from local businesses, board members, members of the YMCA and others from the community, Batye said.
The Board of Trustees gave its approval May 17 for a $2 million loan, increasing the total to $3.5 million. Now, the organization needs to raise another $400,000.
The YMCA began a door-to-door fundraising campaign last week that was set to last through today.
“Our hope here was … we want to come to you, and hopefully they would respect that and it would show that we’re putting in the effort,” Batye said.
Batye said the campaign is going well so far. Twenty-five groups of volunteers went door to door Tuesday, and Batye said they gathered around $1,500 in on-the-spot donations. The main goal, however, was to pass out pledge cards so people can donate later.
Of the original $1.5 million raised, $450,000 was donated by MU Health Care. The YMCA offers Mizzou Therapy Services through a partnership with University of Missouri Health Care, and those services will continue in the new facility.
Members of any branch of the Jefferson City Area YMCA, of which Southern Boone is part, are welcome to use the Southern Boone facility, Batye said. Currently, the Firley YMCA in Jefferson City is closed due to tornado damage.
Batye said there is no solid plan for when construction will begin because of continued fundraising, but he is hopeful it will begin by the end of this year or early next year.
The ultimate goal is for the Southern Boone Area YMCA to move into its new building in January 2021.