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YMCA Posts Big Plans for the Hill

By Adam Brandolph
Friday, July 9, 2010

A day after community officials announced they had struck a deal to bring a grocery store to the Hill District, residents on Thursday were pleased to hear that the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh plans to break ground on a nearby facility this fall.

“I think it’s a very good thing for the community,” said Franklin A. Reed, 75, a longtime Hill District resident. “This is something we very much need.”

The $11 million project includes both the renovation of the YMCA’s facility on Centre Avenue and construction of the Thelma Lovett Family YMCA, a 43,000-square-foot facility that will offer recreation, family support services, youth programs and activities for senior citizens. The new center, named after the lifelong Hill District activist, will include an indoor track, a gymnasium, aquatics center with a four-lane pool, a wellness center, multipurpose and senior space, a teen room and a computer lab.

“The new facility will provide the Hill District neighborhoods with a vital, family-centered hub for social, physical and developmental activity, as well as continue the revitalization of the Centre Avenue corridor,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in a written statement. “With a new arena, library, and soon to be YMCA and grocery store, we are rebuilding the Hill District and providing jobs and opportunities to its residents.”

The city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday approved selling 18 lots to the nonprofit for $237,500.

Richard J. Perallo, vice president of facilities and construction for the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, said construction of the center should take about 15 months. Fundraising for the project has been ongoing, with about $13 million raised, said Bill Jones, the YMCA’s senior vice president and chief financial officer.

“Organizations like the YMCA provide critical care and physical health resources to families, children and residents of the Hill District,” City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, whose district includes the Hill, said in a written statement. “These public private partnerships help form the solid foundation of support to our community. When we all work together, we are all better for it.”

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