Big changes are coming to Shreveport’s YMCA’s in the form of two new state-of-the-art facilities, plus rumors of a YMCA in Bossier. But what does that mean for existing Y’s in your neighborhoods?
“We have reading programs, character building programs. The YMCA is no longer just a swim and gym,” said Gary Lash, YMCA executive director.
But if you’re looking for a nice place to take a dip or work out, the new BHP YMCA off of Clyde Fant is definitely it. But a new state of the art facility is going to cost you, right? Wrong, says Lash.
“We want to make it affordable to everyone. We’re not changing our prices once this opens,” Lash said.
That’s like icing on the cake. But something has to go to make room. And the Broadmoor YMCA is it.
“We’re going to close that facility and bring it here. This will replace that but it will be more than worth the extra 4 minutes to come here,” Lash said.
And what about the downtown location of the YMCA?
“We’ve spent over a half a million dollars downtown on equipment, upgrades and other things so we’re putting money into existing Y’s and building new. It’s not expensive to run if our systems are working correctly. It’s a cornerstone of downtown since 1924 and we intend to continue to increase our programs there,” Lash said.
So despite it’s age, it’s sticking around continuing to serve its faithful customers. But the Y is pretty busy these days because another Shreveport location on Ellerbe Road is also in the works.
“I’m in planning stages with a company to help develop that so hopefully within 18 months we’ll be able to come up with a package to show people what we’re going to do there,” Lash said.
But that’s not all. How far off is the North Bossier Y?
“That depends on our progress here and the excitement in Bossier. That’s a whole different set of dollars and revenue there that doesn’t cross the river,” Lash said.
Back to the bright and shiny new BHP YMCA. How much did this thing cost? And who’s paying for it? Total cost $17 million. And BHP chipped in a pretty penny.
“They gave us $10.7 million dollars as a seed gift. $2.7 in property and $8 million cash for this facility. So we’re expecting Shreveport to continue with that help,” Lash said.
Which means they’re hoping this new facility will draw in new customers too.
The new BHP YMCA is 70,000 square feet, has an indoor competition and family pools and they’re looking to expand the ball park with help from the Texas Rangers. It should open in the next couple of weeks, weather permitting.