The Sandusky Area YMCA wants to open a new facility at a new location, but can't do it alone.
"To make a new YMCA possible, it has to be a community-sponsored initiative, meaning the foundations have to be on board, the corporations have to be onboard and the city has to be on board," said Brett Kinzel, board of trustees president.
Over the last 18 months, the YMCA has been researching the feasibility of opening a new facility, which included finding an optimal location.
"Part of the 22-step process was to do a site selection analysis. We originally started out with four sites, but based on demographics and geographics, we decided 2020 Hayes Ave. would be the best location," Kinzel said.
The Hayes Avenue location is the site of the former Memorial Hospital. The YMCA has made an offer on the location, but so has the Erie County Health Department.
Kinzel said the hospital might be exploring several options, but the YMCA board plans to make a presentation to the hospital about its plans.
The YMCA formed the Alpha Committee to research and plan a new YMCA.
Executive Director Steve Snider said moving and building a new facility would be a $7.5 million undertaking. The YMCA already has $4.5 million committed to the project from a variety of foundations, corporations and individuals who wish to remain anonymous.
The committee plans to hire a professional fundraiser to determine what the community can afford.
"We'll get a feel from them if they feel there is enough left in the community to meet our need. We can't build what the community can't support," Snider said.
The committee also has floor plans for the new facility. They researched a variety of other YMCAs and modeled the new facility to be more efficient.
They hope to level the hospital and build a one-story facility that is fully accessible to the handicapped.
"Our facility now isn't very friendly to physical limitations. Our population is aging, so that's going to be even more of an issue as we go the next couple decades," Snider said.
The facility will be 35,000 square feet -- about 10,000 square feet smaller the current location, but more of the space will be utilized. Everything will be on one floor except for an elevated running/walking track in the gym, which will be 30 percent larger than the current gym.
Many of the other features will be the same at the new facility; only racquetball courts have been eliminated.
There will also be four private family locker rooms in addition to the men's and women's locker rooms.
If the hospital accepts the offer and the money is raised, Snider said the YMCA hopes to break ground in 2008.
The current YMCA site, which was appraised at $600,000, will be for sale if the YMCA moves.