YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka announces plan to build new facility in downtown Barrie

A new YMCA facility could soon be coming to downtown Barrie.

According to a press release issued by the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, the organization has entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with HIP Developments to secure space on the former Barrie Central Collegiate Institute and Prince of Wales properties in downtown Barrie.

The MOU allows the organization to move forward with plans to build a new facility.

“Our staff and volunteers are very excited to be working with HIP Developments and the City of Barrie to create a unique gateway to our downtown on the former Barrie Central/Prince of Wales property. The mix of residential development and a new Y, along with the city’s potential plans for the Fisher Auditorium, will be a huge economic stimulus to the west end of downtown and along Bradford Street,” said Rob Armstrong, CEO of YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka in the release.

The YMCA says the new facility will be designed as a “hub” housing traditional YMCA programs as well as programs delivered by partners such as Youth Haven and the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.

According to the release, the YMCA’s vision for a community hub will “support neighbourhood growth and development in Barrie’s downtown core” by increasing foot traffic for local businesses and increasing access to services for people who walk or take public transit.

“By being in such a prominent location in our downtown, the Y will be a gathering place for our community. Being in this location is where the Y’s impact is going to be particularly well felt,” Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman said in the release.

The release says the new facility will be paid for using funds generated through the redevelopment and sale of the YMCA’s property on Grove Street and a capital campaign scheduled to launch in the new year.

According to the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, the development of the new facility will be done in phases, and the existing location on Grove Street will remain in operation for up to four years to allow the organization to relocate without business interruption.

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