A rendering of the Hammond Family YMCA after renovations to the exterior. An anonymous donor is pledging $500,000 to the capital campaign for the $3.5 million project.

Originally published on June 26, 2018
NWI Times
by Robert Earnshaw

An anonymous donor is helping the Hammond Family YMCA with its planned $3.5 million renovation and face-lift to the existing building, including an expanded weight room and new child care area.

Officials said the donor, who is from the Region, is planning a gift of $500,000, which the Y plans to match.

“We are pretty excited,” said Mark Bates, Y campaign chairman. “It has given a renewed energy to the capital campaign committee to go out and seek dollars to match that.”

Bates said the gift has energized the goal to raise $3.5 million or more. The scope of the project, which was announced as a $3 million cost in January, has enlarged. The plan initially included adding about 5,000 square feet to the weight room and gutting and remodeling the main entrance, where two new multipurpose rooms and a 1,500-square-foot child care area will be added.

The project now includes expansion of the parking lot and a new gym floor. Originally those were projected for a future phase of renovation.

The initial $3 million cost included a $1 million gift from the city of Hammond and a matching gift of $1 million from the Dean and Barbara White Foundation. The Y also started a capital fundraising campaign for the remaining $1 million. The Y has currently raised about $500,000.

“We want to break ground in the fall,” said Dennis Schoenebeck, interim CEO of the Crossroads YMCA association.

Hammond Family YMCA is part of the Crossroads YMCA association that includes the branch in Crown Point, as well as branches in Griffith and Whiting.

Schoenebeck said part of the renovation of the Hammond facility includes a visual enhancement of the exterior that will allow people to see activity on the inside.

Dave Mays, executive director of the Hammond Family YMCA, said when the project was announced in January, a concerted effort was launched to double membership from its current 5,500.

Mays said recently they have already increased membership by more than 1,000.

“Even before anything has been done to the facility there has been some excitement and the impact is being made,” he said. “That impact will continue to grow once this facility is done.”

Mays said there is a strong history at the Hammond Y and he is hoping the community can step up for the next generation.

“We have a good history and want to continue on with that legacy,” he said.

For more information on how to donate to the YMCA’s campaign, contact Mays at 219-845-1507 or dmays@crymca.org.