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Land deal for $1.5 million gives YMCA 'everything we need'
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Land deal for $1.5 million gives YMCA 'everything we need'

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A Lake Geneva business owner is looking forward to seeing property once owned by his family transformed into a future site for a new campus for the Geneva Lakes Family YMCA.

Brian Pollard, president of a development company called FairWyn Ltd., sold 112 acres of land to the YMCA for $1.5 million near the corner of Highway 120 and County Road H south of Lake Lake Geneva.

The site is near where Pollard’s company is developing the new Symphony Bay subdivision.

YMCA officials announced the land purchase Oct. 2 as part of their plan to build a new campus to replace the existing YMCA on Wells Street in Lake Geneva.

“We thought, ‘We’re not going to do anything with it, so the next best thing to do is sell it to the Y,” Pollard said. “They need a new facility, and they had to get the property.”

YMCA president and CEO Michael Kramp said the $1.5 million land deal was financed with donations from community members as well as current and past members of the YMCA board.

Kramp said his organization had looked at nine potential sites for their new campus during the past few years. He said the Pollard property is a good spot for the new YMCA campus.

“The site has everything we need,” he said. “It will be able to serve the YMCA for many years to come.”

YMCA officials announced earlier this year that they plan to build a new campus to replace the existing facility at 203 Wells St., which officials have said the YMCA has outgrown.

Officials hope to begin construction in 2021 and have the project completed within three years.

As proposed, the new campus will include a main building, indoor field house, childcare center and outdoor athletic fields. Amenities will include larger fitness and aquatic areas, as well as more space for parking.

Kramp said the YMCA will be have access to walking trails and will be able to host summer day camps for children.

The YMCA has been at its current location since the early 1960s. After the new YMCA campus is complete, the current building will be offered for sale.

A capital fundraising campaign is in the works to begin in the spring to raise an undisclosed amount for the project.

FairWyn Ltd. recently made a donation to the YMCA to kick off the fundraising effort. Pollard would not say how much money the company donated.

Pollard, however, said he hopes other residents and business owners will donate.

“We believe in what they’re doing. We wanted to help them get started,” he said. “They’re going to have a tremendous need.”

YMCA representatives approached Pollard and his family about a year ago about purchasing the property south of Lake Geneva. Pollard said he has enjoyed working with the YMCA throughout the sale process.

“They’ve done what they’ve said they we’re going to do, and we’ve done what we’ve said we were going to do,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure working with them.”

At the new location, the YMCA will be near Big Foot Beach State Park, Badger High School and Lake Geneva Middle School.

Pollard said his family purchased the property around 2005 for possible future development. He said no other potential buyers had approached the family about purchasing the land.

But the family was not really looking for a buyer until the YMCA came forward.

“If it was for any other development, we might have not sold it,” he said.

The 112-acre property straddles the border between the the town of Linn and the town of Bloomfield.

The YMCA plans to seek annexation into Lake Geneva.

Kramp said he has not talked about the annexation with town of Linn or town of Bloomfield officials.

“Our main focus has been on purchasing the land,” Kramp said. “I don’t have further updates on that.”

Linn town Chairman Jim Weiss said that because YMCA officials have not approached the town about annexation, the issue has not been discussed among town officials.

“We don’t want to lose any more land,” Weiss said, “but we would be willing to work with the YMCA if they approached us.”

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