New home for the Y in Pippy Park
Monday, January 21, 2008, p. A1
Source: The Telegram (St. John's)
by Greg Knott
The YMCA-YWCA of Northeast Avalon will soon have land for a new home and hopes to open the doors to a multimillion-dollar facility on the site in the next few years.
The Pippy Park Commission recently finalized a deal and sold a portion of land in the park to the City of St. John's. The city is going to transfer the land to the Y for the construction of its new home.
Ron Penney, the city's chief commissioner and city solicitor, said the 1.8-hectare plot of land on the corner of Ridge Road and Higgins Line, next to the francophone school, cost $450,000.
Penney said the formal transfer of the land to the Y will happen soon.
"I think it's a great thing for the Y," said Ian Pippy, chairman of the Pippy Park Commission.
"I think they're a great organization and I think it'll be a great asset to both the city and the park."
Penney said the city had agreed to make a contribution of $1.5 million to the development of a new building for the Y.
As part of its share of the project, the cost of the land will come off the total money promised for the project.
Pippy said the money from the sale will be reinvested back into the park.
Jason Brown, chief executive officer of the Y, said they have been working on this project with the commission and the city for the last few years.
"We just can't think of a better location for the new Y," Brown said.
The organization plans to build a 49,000 square foot building with an aquatic centre, exercise space, gymnasium, child-care centre and employment centre. The new building will also be home to the Y's head office.
The project has a price tag of $10.5 million.
The Y is currently in the midst of a fundraising campaign and is waiting to hear on federal and provincial funding for the project, Brown said.
Last February, well-known philanthropist Elinor Gill Ratcliffe became the first person to contribute to the campaign, with a donation of $100,000 to the project.
The new facility will give one of the oldest charities in the province - established in 1854 - a chance to grow.
"This new building site allows us to grow our programs to further meet the needs of the people of the Northeast Avalon," Brown said.
The Y's current location on New Cove Road is close to 30 years old and is too small. The Y plans to sell the old building and use the proceeds for the new project.
The earliest construction could begin would be next fall, Brown said.