New YMCA opens in Clarion County

By: fioreMarketing | February 3, 2019 | Original Article

CLARION — A dream for decades, and years of planning came to fruition this week as the new full-service YMCA facility opened its doors in Clarion County.

“What an accomplishment for Clarion County,” YMCA trustee Milissa Bauer told the large crowd gathered Thursday morning in the YMCA’s new gymnasium for the official ribbon cutting ceremony. “This is truly the story of a small rural community that joined together.”

“This place is going to change people’s lives,” YMCA branch director Jesse Kelley said. “God is smiling on us today.”

Despite the negative temperatures outside at the time of the grand opening, the feeling inside was nothing but positive as local dignitaries, YMCA officials, donors and community members gathered to celebrate the occasion and to tour the new 40,000-square-foot, $12 million facility located along Mayfield Road, next to the Clarion Oaks Golf Course.

Bauer, who along with Al Lander led the capital campaign that raised the money to build the new YMCA, said that the planning began eight years ago when a group of supporters agreed that it could be done.

“I’m just elated we were able to make it to this day,” she said.

Lander looked at the bigger picture, saying that the county’s forefathers built the county’s institutions, large and small, and handed them off to the next generations.

“Now we add this facility to improve the quality of life (for the area),” he said, noting that the YMCA’s new location is central in the county, and a 15- to 20-minute drive for just about any resident.

Lander credited the many local donors who “dug deep” to support the project, including the Kriebel family, which donated much of the land, and golf course owners Dana and Karen Davis, who contributed the remaining land needed.

He said the YMCA was built with large windows on all sides so that those using its facilities could see the amazing views offered by the choice location.

Other speakers at the ribbon cutting included video presentations from state Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion) and Gov. Tom Wolf, and comments from Clarion County Commissioners Ed Heasley and Wayne Brosius, Clarion County Economic Development Corp. Director Shannon Barrios, and YMCA officials Kurtis Bell, Gerritt Rex and Tom Spence.

Brosius said the county commissioners were supportive of the project from the beginning, particularly because the new facility would help improve the health of county residents.

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