The Withnell Family YMCA Opens Their Doors
SALEM- After waiting for almost four years, the newly remodeled YMCA opened in downtown Salem on October 20. The Salem Withnell Family YMCA is now a 51,000-square-foot flagship building in the heart of the city. Construction began in 2020 where the former building was located.
“We’re excited to see all our past members come back and see how many new members are
continuing to sign up,” YMCAA CEO Tim Sinatra said. “It’s such a great facility to support families and engagement because there is so much to do. When we closed, we had 1800 membership units, which could be an adult, couple, or family, but doesn’t equate to people. We’re already over 1900 members, which comes out to about 5,000 community members.”
The former location had been there for almost 100 years and needed several upgrades and improved amenities.
“The community has been waiting a long time to rebuild the flagship site that has been there since 1926,” Sinatra said. “We restructured our program model and wanted to focus on what was most important to the community. We serve from early childhood to youth development and family strengthening and serve across the whole economic spectrum. We wanted it to be a community YMCA, a YMCA for all.”
In order to complete the project, there was a 30.5 million capital campaign for two projects. The first project was the construction of a new YMCA, and the second project was a Veteran’s housing project, across the street from the YMCA. The campaign is just 1.3 million away from being debt free.
“We’re almost debt free for both projects,” Sinatra said. “That would be a ton of money for a big city, so it shows you that this community is so amazing in supporting the key assets in our community. Every time a nonprofit wants to go to the next level, the community steps up.”
The new space now includes expanded fitness facilities that feature three multipurpose training rooms, a regulation-size gymnasium, revamped childcare and youth development rooms, community meeting rooms and lounges, separate family and adult locker rooms, a café on the first floor, a swimming pool and still to be completed rooftop terrace and outdoor track.
Ike Box will be running the café and Fresh and Local is handling the grab-and-go.
“We have expanded preschool rooms that have the cutting-edge type of technology, and we have a play and learn center that has expanded significantly,” Sinatra said. “We went from 2 pools to 1 pool to accommodate more social settings. We have the capital wing on the third floor for workshops and a location for families to get access to more resources.”
Membership has expanded in the new building and the goal is to help everyone in the community by offering an income-based membership. If someone isn’t able to afford the cost of membership, the YMCA will work with them to what they can afford with their goal being not to turn anybody away.
“We’re so thankful to all our donors out there who have helped. We’re thankful for the pillars that help out all the organizations,” Sinatra said. “It’s a great representation of many people that helped us get here. Everyone’s contribution was equally important.”