The very existence of the New Rochelle YMCA, which has been a staple of the community for more than three decades, was put in danger when contractors discovered damage to the ceiling and support beams while removing a drop roof over the pool, which is no longer permitted due to the moisture that can, and did build up.
In order to secure the necessary bank loans needed to offset the estimated $1.3 million cost to replace the ceiling, elected officials, volunteers and members of the YMCA worked to raise $400,000 by kicking off their “Be a Lifesaver” campaign.
Despite hosting several fundraising events the last few months that raised nearly $275,000, the “Be a Lifesaver” campaign was still well short of its goal before Paulin and Otis each secured $500,000 in grant funds through the state’s Dormitory Authority.
Due to its status as an independent YMCA, the New Rochelle branch does not receive support from the larger, national YMCA organization, which forced YMCA Chief Executive Officer Julie Gallanty and local leaders to reach out to the community for assistance. As one of the chief sources of revenue for the organization, if the pool was forced to be shut down for an extended period of time, the YMCA may have had to close the doors for good.
“The New Rochelle YMCA is an essential recreational facility in the city,” Paulin said. “The pool is central to its mission and used by young and old alike. It is unthinkable that it could be shut down, and I will work diligently with the community to see that it stays open.”
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said that while New York politics typically are given a bad name, this is an example of the power local politicians can have for the communities they serve.
“Albany is, rightly, viewed as dysfunctional and corrupt, but we should never paint with too broad a brush, because like any other large group of people, the state legislature contains folks of wide ranging abilities, intelligence and integrity,” he said. “New Rochelle is fortunate to have a very capable and ethical state legislative delegation, as this latest accomplish illustrates.”
Click here to follow Daily Voice New Rochelle and receive free news updates.