Construction begins on new Wisconsin Rapids YMCA, Boys & Girls Club

Published: Aug. 29, 2018 at 10:26 AM CDT
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Construction on the new YMCA and Boys & Girls Club in Wisconsin Rapids is officially underway. It started with a ceremonial ground breaking on Wednesday at the former Rapids Mall.

"It's a very exciting occasion for the entire community and for the two organizations that serve a purpose and roll in our community," said Rapids Mayor Zach Vruwink.

The 70,000 square foot facility will feature an aquatic center with competitive swimming lanes, lazy river and splash pad; group exercise studios with member lounge areas; childcare area and kids adventure center; teaching kitchen and community garden; community gathering space; indoor walking/jogging track; and a sports field for football and soccer.

Bret Salscheider of the YMCA says putting the two facilities together makes perfect sense, "we really compliment each others strengths and were gonna serve kids better then either of us can do today."

The mayor says the facility taking over the mall will help prevent that building from being blighted. A sentiment shared by Kent Anderson of the Boys and Girls Club, "we found this location and it made more sense, being downtown, being centrally located, there's a lot of activity and we could add to that and revitalize Wisconsin Rapids downtown."

They raised about $27 million of mostly private donations to fund the project and hope to open by March of 2020.