YMCA project receives boost from state

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Naugatuck YMCA’s dorm coordinator Lori Czajkowski points out the padding in the gym that is in bad shape. The state Bond Commission has approved a $317,500 grant for the YMCA to help pay for renovations, including replacing the padding. –LUKE MARSHALL
Naugatuck YMCA’s dorm coordinator Lori Czajkowski points out the padding in the gym that is in bad shape. The state Bond Commission has approved a $317,500 grant for the YMCA to help pay for renovations, including replacing the padding. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck YMCA will soon get some needed work done thanks to a state grant.

The state’s Bond Commission approved a $317,500 grant for the YMCA April 26 to go towards a variety of different improvements.

YMCA Executive Director William Kane said some of the money will be used to update the pool and gym areas.

Kane said repairs to the pool will include replacing the filters, putting new paneling along the walls in the pool area, and installing new, efficient lighting.

In the gym, the money will be used to replace the padding along the walls, paint the walls and install new basketball hoops that can be lowered for younger children.

“We’ll have the ability to lower hoops for the 7- and 8- year-old leagues,” Kane said.

Kevin Knowles, who is a member of the YMCA’s Board of Directors and its capital improvement committee, said this money will help the organization a great deal.

“This will be a great shot in the arm for those sections of the Y,” Knowles said.

Knowles said it’s good to see the money go towards something that has such a large impact on the community.

“The Y provides a great deal of service to the community,” Knowles said. “For a great deal of us in town it is part of our childhood, part of the present, and we want to make sure it’s a valid and vibrant part of our future.”

Both Kane and Knowles said they were grateful to State Sen. Joseph Crisco (D-17), who they both said worked hard to get the money onto the Bond Commission’s agenda.

“Somebody had to take the quarterback role and that was him certainly,” Knowles said.

Kane and Knowles were also thankful for help from State Sen. Joan Hartley (D-15), who worked alongside Crisco to make sure the grant was on the agenda.

“The Naugatuck YMCA, a 120-year old institution, is an integral part of the fabric of the Borough of Naugatuck. It has provided programming and services to generations of families, children, seniors, athletes and others alike,” Hartley said in a statement. “This grant will serve to facilitate the growing need of an institution which has always maximized state and community investment.”

The gym and pool areas aren’t the only parts of the building that will be receiving an update from this money.

Kane said the YMCA will also be updating offices, adding new equipment to the strength training area and making security improvements.

“We’ll install security cameras on the outside of facility and other areas that are not covered. Right now there are eight cameras. Eight more will give us full coverage for the facility,” Kane said.

While the YMCA is pleased to receive the grant it will only cover half of what the improvements are expected to cost, Kane said. The YMCA will work to raise the rest of the money it needs to finish off the project, he said.

The project is phase two of a long-range planning project developed by the YMCA in 2002. Between the years of 2007 and 2010 the YMCA spent approximately $2.4 million renovating and updating the building, including installing a new elevator.

Kane said once the renovations funded by the state grant begin they will not be completed overnight.

“It’s going to be at least a two-year program,” Kane said.

The pool will need to be closed down for up to five weeks while all of the work on it is done, Kane said. The gym will remain open during construction.

“We have to go out to bid for each project since it is state money,” Kane said. “Nothing happens overnight. We have to do our due diligence.”