The Park Cities YMCA accepted an $8 million donation from the Moody Foundation on Tuesday while announcing a name change for the facility: the Moody Family YMCA at the Park Cities.
Foundation executive director Frances Moody-Dahlberg is a longtime resident of the Park Cities. She, along with YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas CEO Gordon Echtenkamp, announced the gift, which they both consider an investment in the future generations of the community.
“We are very fortunate to have the Moody family in the Park Cities community and to have received their benevolent gift,” said Carlos Munguia, chairman of the Park Cities YMCA board. “Their gift is testament that they share our vision that the Park Cities Y is the long-term community resource that can continue to provide evolving programs to help develop youth, inspire and facilitate wellness for all ages, and address ongoing local community social needs.”
Board member Gail Madden reminisced about the four generations of her family who have made use of the Y. Her parents took her as a child; when she had kids, she brought them too.
“I have a granddaughter who learned to swim at the Y, and now she’s a competitive swimmer,” Madden said. “This YMCA has been a critical, critical part of the fabric in this community and helping build strong minds and strong bodies and strong spirits.”
The Moody donation brings the fundraising total to $12.3 million. Once YMCA officials reach 80 percent of their $28 million goal, they will begin construction.
At that time, the facilities will be temporarily moved off site. Construction is expected to last 10 to 12 months, with a goal of opening the new building by the end of 2015.
The new 58,000-square-foot building will be almost twice the size of the 62-year-old building it’s replacing. It will include space for underground parking, two pools, a gym, a fitness center, classrooms for the current preschool, and classrooms for the Rise School, a preschool for children with learning disabilities.
Tuesday’s announcement was all smiles and celebration, but it didn’t come without contentious debate. The University Park City Council postponed approving the building’s plans while they heard concerns and complaints from area residents for more than a year.
Critics worried what kind of traffic such a large facility would bring into the residential neighborhood; those in favor said removing parking from side streets would reduce accidents and car break-ins. The council settled on a compromise–a building slightly smaller than the original 65,000-square-foot plans proposed but still large enough to house the Rise School, which a few residents had initially questioned.
YMCA officials left all arguments behind Tuesday and focused their excitement on seeing their beloved community center expand into future generations and remain true to its message of inclusivity.
“You see the community is growing; it’s thriving,” Robert Beecherl said. “And with a new facility on the horizon, we can fill the needs for today and for future generations.”