|By Carley Dangona
At its information session on June 27, the Agawam YMCA Wellness & Program Family Center announced that it anticipates opening in the fall of 2013. Above, Mollie Dion of the A-Academy of Artistic Performance danced at the event.
Reminder Publications photo by Carley Dangona
AGAWAM YMCA officials announced that the Agawam YMCA Wellness & Program Family Center is slated to open this fall.
The Agawam Y-Express hosted a community information session on June 27 to discuss its development with residents.
The location is considered a Y-Express because the site will not include a pool or basketball court. The 8,000 square-foot facility will however include a café and a technology center. The Y-Express will be located in the Agawam Towne Square on Springfield Street, according to the YMCA of Greater Springfield.
"Our goal and our hope is that by the end of September/beginning of October we will see the Y-Express open. It's been a dream for a long time to have the presence of the Y in our community," Mayor Richard Cohen said.
Cohen stated that the Agawam location will be the only Y-Express in the Western Massachusetts area and will serve as a "prototype" for surrounding communities.
"The YMCA is always a positive addition to a community," Kirk Smith, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, said. "The YMCA of Greater Springfield is 161-years-old. It is the second oldest in the United States and the fourth oldest in the world. We're very proud of our heritage."
The Y-Express will feature a wellness center with cardiovascular equipment and free weights; studio space for dance classes or meetings; a child enrichment center where children can participate in activities while their parents use the facilities; and a member lounge where can congregate with each other.
Smith stated that the center will offer "something for everyone." He cited the goal of the center to promote wellness and create a sense of community. "It will be like "Cheers," where everybody knows your name," he added.
The YMCA estimates that the new location will serve more than 3,000 residents in Agawam and West Springfield. The total fundraising goal to cover the costs of construction and initial operating costs is $600,000. "We have raised more than a quarter million dollars to date," Smith said. "We still need a half million dollars for our goal."
Shelby Hall-Gibbons, the town's community wellness ambassador for its "Let's Move!" campaign, attended the event. She said that she was excited to have the Y come to town.
On June 17, Hall-Gibbons and Jason Pirnie, executive director of the Y-Express, announced that the Agawam Public Library would be offering programs to promote the two campaigns. For a listing of the events, visit the calendar section of www.agawamlibrary.org.
For more information, visit http://www.springfieldy.org/family-centers/agawam-ymca-program-and-wellness-family-center/ or contact Pirnie at email@example.com.
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