Havertown was one of 17 YMCA sites under consideration before it was selected because it has the most people in a township without access to a YMCA.
That is according to YMCA of Philadelphia & Vicinity President and CEO John Flynn as he spoke with the Haverford-Havertown Patch Friday, Aug. 26, at the site of the future Haverford Area YMCA.
The site, where the former before it was demolished, was chosen because of its accessibility and its feasibility, explained Flynn.
“The Haverford Township people came forward and started to work with us for this site. It took off. And so far we have seen nothing but cooperation,” he said. “And I think we can stay on our schedule to get under our construction here in April, the spring of 2012 and open by the summer of 2013.”
In March 2010, the YMCA of Philadelphia & Vicinity signed a ground lease with Haverford Township, which is the site’s current landlord, and agreed to demolish the 284,582 square-foot bubble gum factory and clean up the site, according to information in the ground lease.
Once construction is complete, Flynn said that 150 local people would be hired to run the facility once its open, with 50 of them being full-time employees.
Mike Kandravi, chairman of the Chairman of the Community Capital Campaign, said that he believes that the YMCA will be great
“What I think the impact of the Y on this community, it’s going to be so family oriented and positive growth about the community,” he said, who lives near the site.
A Havertown resident for 17 years, Kandravi said that there is not a single place in Haverford Township where children and families can visit and do many things at one location, such as playing basketball, exercising and swimming.
But there are issues that Flynn addresses regarding the $20 million facility. In the past, have aired concerns that the new YMCA along Eagle Road will create a traffic problem. But Flynn stated there will be a $1 million investment to alleviate that situation.
“We will abate the problem of traffic congestion here through probably a million dollar investment. That is made for traffic signals and turn lanes and other ease of traffic movement implementation of the Y,” he said. “So we are not going to remedy totally this 50-year traffic congestion of this particular location of Eagle Road and Lawrence Road, but we will be helping it out a lot rather than impact it negatively.”
Another issue concerning many residents, such as , is the safety of the land that the future YMCA facility will be sitting on. The land is on a Superfund site because of the pentachlorophenol (PCP) that has been found at the location.
Haverford Township has maintained that the EPA has the final say on the safety and that clean up of the site has been effective. More information regarding the Superfund site's history can be found here.
However, Flynn said the facility would not be at that location if the EPA, the YMCA’s and township’s engineers did not confirm the site is safe.
“… (We have) reports and paperwork that support the health and safety of this site and we’re very confident that is not an issue or we wouldn’t be here having already spent somewhere of a million dollars on the development of this site, with the intention of spending another 19 (million dollars),” Flynn said.
Once the 70,000-square-foot facility opens, it will feature such things as:
- A Wellness Center, with cardiovascular condition and strength training equipment.
- Aquatic Center, with three pools: a 25-yard, eight-lane competitive lap pool, a 4-lane recreational pool, and a Family Fun Pool for children, older adults and special needs members.
- Gymnasium, which will house a basketball court, gymnastics equipment and volleyball court.
- A running and walking track.
- A Child/Family Development Center.
- For more information, please see the PDF brochure of the Haverford YMCA site below the pictures and video.
Kandravi recommends that if residents want a somewhat of a sneak peek of what the Haverford YMCA will be like, they should go to the Ambler Y.
“It’s state of the art. It is as nice as you are going to see it. It’s basically what we’re going to have in our hometown, but with the improvements of being a second edition,” he said.