On Saturday, May 2 the new Central Spokane YMCA/YWCA facility officially opened its doors to the public. Board Chair Larry Soehren and his predecessor Deborah Booth welcomed U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington State Senator Lisa Brown and Spokane Mayor Mary Verner to the dedication ceremony. Senator Cantwell commented on the great legacy of the YMCA and the YWCA and its benefits to the community. Mayor Mary Verner echoed these remarks with her own personal experiences at the YMCA.
Financing this joint YMCA-YWCA project presented a challenge to those organizations because conventional debt might be difficult to obtain and debt service would be a financial burden that would absorb resources better used for services. Equity raised through NDC’s HEDC New Markets, Inc., LISC and US Bank provided the solution, allowing the combined Y’s to minimize their debt service and preserve financial resources to expand their services to the Spokane community.
This building is the first in the nation to combine the benefits of the YMCA and the YWCA into one facility. The 2-story building totals 80,000 square feet and includes an aquatic center, state-of-the-art gym, full court gymnasium for basketball, volleyball and youth sports leagues, and a teen center with Macintosh work stations, flat screen televisions and a music recording studio. The new facility also holds an early child care facility, an Opportunity Center offering mentoring and a free computer lab for patrons to conduct job searches, and Our Sister’s Closet: a clothing bank for women joining the work force.