By Sean V. Lehosit
The Hilltop YMCA raised over $70,000 toward its branch’s renovation, according to Amanda Stamm, Hilltop YMCA’s capital campaign chair.
The branch’s goal was $50,000, she said. An official ribbon cutting ceremony was held earlier this month.
Renovations included a new learning lab, child watch area, wellness center, weight room, multi-purpose room and upgraded locker rooms, officials said.
“The Hilltop YMCA has a very long history of serving this community. I am proud to say this investment will continue to grow and thrive,” said Hal Keller, YMCA of Central Ohio board member.
According to branch staff, their 4,600 members outgrew the 53-year-old building. Space for programs dwindled and locker rooms were not handicap accessible.
“Our belief in nurturing the potential of our youth, improving our community’s health and well-being and giving back to help our neighbors in need, are the ties that bind us together,” said Andrew Roberts, YMCA of Central Ohio president.
Hollywood Casino officials presented a check for $250,000 to the YMCA of Central Ohio at the ribbon cutting event.
“This investment reaffirms our commitment to the Y and the Westside community,” said Ameet Patel, Hollywood Casino general manager.
The $250,000 was jointly donated by Hollywood Casino and the city of Columbus. It is the first distribution from the Westside community fund, created as an arrangement between Penn National Gaming and Columbus three years ago.
“We’re proud to partner with Hollywood Casino to invest in the great neighborhood that surrounds it,” Mayor Michael Coleman said. “The Hilltop YMCA has been a valuable community resource on the Westside for more than half a century.”
The casino and city plan to distribute around $5 million to Westside organizations by 2015, according to city officials.
Councilman Zach Klein said the community fund ensures the economic development around the casino has a positive impact.
“By investing in the YMCA through this fund we build a strong, safe community for decades to come,” Klein said.
Roberts said the Hilltop YMCA is a gathering place for the community. He said the donation and renovations ensure the tradition continues.
“Kids pour in after school to play and do homework. Seniors connect with one another through exercise and group activities. Families come together for quality time,” Roberts said.
For information on the Westside community fund, contact Ashley Senn at 645-7671.