By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
EARLHAM ? After months in the making it only took a few minutes for the Enhance Iowa board to make the motion to grant the YMCA of Washington County a $500,000 CAT grant to support the construction of a new building, bringing the Y within $1 million of its building goal for the first time.
As the vote was being taken, Y interim CEO Amy Schulte, who was sitting with a contingent from Washington at the monthly Enhance Iowa meeting, held her breath as the roll was called. At the end of the roll, there was cheering and more than a few tear-filled eyes in the room. The two previous applicants have both been given grants and the Y had completed a list of items the Enhance Iowa board had given it, but the vote could have gone either way. The grant brings the Y?s total raised for phase 1 of the project to $8,775,021 with the estimated cost of the project being $9,600,139.
?This puts us in an amazing position right now,? Schulte said. ?We only have about $800,000 to raise for the project. The construction documents will be ready for our board to approve during our Sept. 24 meeting and they will approve a timeline of when they will bid out the project and have a groundbreaking. We are getting very close.?
The goal, Schulte said, is to start the project before winter this year so the groundwork can be done and the construction can start in the spring.
For the remaining money, Y volunteers are knocking on doors and making phone calls. She believes with all the positive news from the Y, the plan will continue to move forward. Schulte said she is very happy with the support from the people of Washington. With the fundraising efforts for the building, Schulte said a team effort was needed and the team seems to get bigger all the time.
Originally the grant application was for $900,000, but the Enhance Iowa board has recently capped grants to a maximum of $500,000.
The news of the grant comes on the heels of two other advancements for the project. Late last week, the Y sold property at 115 S. Second Ave., and on Tuesday, the Washington County Board of Supervisors agreed to partner with the Y to designate the new facility as an emergency shelter for the county and agreed to contribute $5,000 toward the facility.
?I?m on Cloud 9 today,? Schulte said this morning. ?It has been an awesome week.?
In May 2017, the YMCA of Washington County Board unveiled a new design for a building to replace the existing 92-year-old building located in the 100 block of East Main Street. The Y Board started a fundraising campaign called ?Y ? For a Better Us,? to pay for the construction. The phased building plan is to complete a Phase 1 building with a $3 million Phase 2 addition as soon as fundraising efforts make it possible which includes an indoor swimming pool. Schulte said as soon as the money is collected for the first phase, collections will begin for the second phase. Design is already beginning on the pool. The building?s design can also be expanded to include a third phase as well as other future expansions as needed. The plan is downsized from a previous $10.4 million plan. More information on the project can be found online at www.buildwashingtonymca.com.