Building a Future for Wisconsin Rapids Youth
By Joe Bachman
“The magic happens behind the scenes and in those programs — that’s really at the heart of our collaboration, and how the Boys & Girls Club and the YMCA provide more access and services to kids.” – South Wood Co. YMCA CEO Bret Salscheider.
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — The South Wood County YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club unveiled official plans to build a new facility in place the old Rapids mall on Monday morning, as well as a capital campaign dubbed the “Building Futures Together Campaign”.
The $27.5 million dollar project will soon advance its capital campaign in efforts to raise $6 million dollars for its future construction. According to the YMCA, a central location for the YMCA offers the high visibility and access needed to serve families and individuals in the area. This project could even increase YMCA membership by 27 percent in the area. The project will see no taxpayer money used, as donors from the Legacy Foundation and Aspirus, among others, have stepped in to help.
“We want to make sure that those kids have every access to programs and services,” said Salschieder. “If not, they fall behind academically, physically, socially and emotionally — so this project will make a bold statement to help address that.”
Each organization serves over 1,600 youth under the age of 18, and will seek to have an impact on more youth in the community, as well as adults. On-board for help with the community campaign is South Wood County Historian Phil Brown, and former Wisconsin Rapids Chief of Police Kurt Heuer.
“As a Y kid growing up in Port Edwards, I am so honored ot be part of this incredible collaborate project, and leading the “Building Futures Together Campaign”. said Heuer. “There is no better collaboration that could have this kind of impact on our youth, health and wellness, and for our overall community.”
“Having these two organizations teaming up to build a state-of-the-art facility that meets the needs of our youth and enhances the health and wellness of our citizens is truly remarkable,” said Brown.
The campaign will consist of 20 individuals in efforts of raising the $6 million. However, while this may controversially out some out of work in Rapids Mall stores, the project will likely create over half-a-dozen full-time jobs on the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club end, as well as various part-time jobs for facility amenities. Also included will be the farmer’s market, which will not leave the area among residential concerns.
The proposed facility will include the following amenities:
-Gathering and Social Areas
-Arts and Humanity Areas
-Health and Wellness Center
-Group Exercise Studios
-Indoor Running and Walking Track
-Child Watch and Family Adventure Center
-Full-Day Child Care
-Gymnasium & Locker Rooms
Construction looks to begin in spring of 2018, with a completion date falling somewhere around fall of 2019. For more continued updates, you can download the YMCA app at http://app.southwoodymca.org