YMCA leaders look south with new campus plan

YMCA leaders look south with new campus plan

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A new YMCA campus could be coming to Lake Geneva.

Representatives of the Geneva Lakes Family YMCA have unveiled plans for building a new facility on 115 acres just south of Big Foot Beach State Park.

The site is located outside Lake Geneva city limits, but officials intend to seek annexation into the city. Located near the intersection of state Highway 120 and County Road H, the property straddles the border between the town of Bloomfield and the town of Linn.

Plans presented July 1 at a city council committee meeting show a sprawling campus with outdoor playing fields, an indoor field house and a child care center, in addition to the YMCA itself.

Officials did not release cost projections, but they said a capital fund-raising campaign is in the works and that they hope to begin construction within two or three years.

YMCA chief executive officer Michael Kramp said the current YMCA at 203 S. Wells St. is no longer adequate, as membership has more than doubled in the past seven years, from 1,600 member units to 3,600. Member units count individual and family memberships as one each.

The total membership is about 7,000 people.

“We’ve done our best to modify it and put additions on over time,” Kramp said. “But we’ve simply outgrown it.”

Officials said they have not decided what to do with the existing YMCA property, which is about 50 years old.

Lake Geneva Alderman John Halverson voiced support for the building plan.

“I think it’s pretty exciting,” Halverson said.

Alderman Tim Dunn asked what would happen if the town of Linn or town of Bloomfield were not in favor of the proposal.

“Just in case Linn and Bloomfield aren’t as enthusiastic as we are, do you have a Plan B, maybe a Plan C?,” Dunn said.

Clancy Green, development coordinator with Keefe Real Estate, who is working with the YMCA, said there are no back-up plans.

“I’m sure there’s going to be lengthy conversations with both communities,” Green said. “We will see what the outcome is.”

The current owner of the real estate has not been identified.

Kramp said YMCA officials have been looking into building a new campus since 2014.

Construction could begin within two or three years, depending on how much money is raised from a capital fundraising campaign. Kramp said he did not have an estimate for the project’s cost.

Plans for the new YMCA campus were presented July 1 during a city council committee-of-the-whole meeting.

If approved, the campus development would take place in phases, with the initial phase including the main building and childcare center, and the next phases including the indoor field house and the outdoor fields.

“It would not occur all at once,” Green said.

Kramp said the YMCA is in need of more programming space, having outgrown the current building’s estimated 47,000 square feet.

“These programs and facility users compete for space in an undersized facility,” he said.

Kramp said the 115-acre site would allow for future expansion and space for outdoor programs. With the new location, he said, officials would establish outdoor wellness trails that would connect to Big Foot Beach State Park.

“We’re excited about this space,” he said. “We don’t have outdoor space at our current location. We also don’t have space to build on, so this would allow us to have a larger YMCA.”

Geneva Lakes Family YMCA has been at its current location since the early 1960’s. The building previously served as a grocery store and was renovated into the YMCA. The original Lake Geneva YMCA building was constructed in the early 1900s near the corner of Main Street and Cook Street.

“This is an exciting time for us,” Kramp said. “People have waited a long time for a new YMCA.”

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