By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter
The Wayman Palmer YMCA had a groundbreaking ceremony for its new facility on Tuesday, September 12. The $28 million revitalized structure is set to open in 2025 and will be twice the size of the current facility bringing many state-of-the-art amenities, including an indoor pool, to the Warren- Sherman community.
Tuesday morning an outpouring of community support turned up in the Warren-Sherman neighborhood. Investors, residents, church leaders, elected officials and community advocates convened in Inez Nash Park to commemorate the long awaited, and much needed, improvement to the Wayman Palmer YMCA. Over 300 people attended the ceremony.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz opened the celebration. “There would some that say that city can’t afford this… I would say the city can’t afford not to do this.” The $28 Million dollar project, which is a combination of government funding including the Biden American Rescue Plan, grants and private investment is a commitment to improvements to Wayman Palmer Y that was built almost 50 years ago.
“We’re here today not just to break ground but to keep a promise… “, continued the mayor, “the Warren Sherman neighborhood has been given a lot of promises…many of them weren’t kept [over the years]. We dedicated ourselves to keeping this promise.” He assured that the planning team did not make any design cuts for the sake of the price tag. “This neighborhood and the kids in this neighborhood are entitled to the best and nicest amenities that any kid in any neighborhood [could have].”
The New Wayman Palmer will include a wide range of programs and services for all ages and amenities such as:
– Zero-entry indoor pool
– Climber/slide for kids
– Outdoor splash pad
– Larger group exercise space
– Larger fitness center
– KidZone free babysitting
– Two-story play structure & slide
– Private locker rooms
– Computer lab
The general location of the Wayman Palmer YMCA will remain the same. The new structure will be built on the site of the current Inez Nash Park and will now extend all the way to Bancroft St. The two locations will be flipped.
Speakers for the day included Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur; Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz; Brad Toft, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toledo; Lisa Hawker, chair of YMCA of Greater Toledo Board of Trustees; Rosalyn Clemens, City of Toledo director Housing and Community; Pastor Charles Waldon, board member/advisor Warren-Sherman Area Council; Wanda Love, Warren-Sherman Area Council President and Toledo 4th District Councilwoman Vanice Williams.
Eric Williams, who has been the director at Wayman Palmer since 2015, is elated with the new development and hopeful for the future. “This is huge day not only for the Y but for the community itself and my hope is that this project transforms the community and that people will get excited and want to do more [in terms of development].”
He said this new facility “will be second to none” the state-of-the-art facility “with the Peloton equipment that we got donated we’ll probably have one of the best Y’s in the region” stated Willams, rivaling places like Columbus and Cincinnati. He stated that the Warren Sherman community had a large part in the design, picking amenities from the play structures, the pad, the pool, to the splash bucket.
Williams says that no one will be turned away because of cost and that The Wayman Palmer Y is accessible to all. “[The cost of the membership] used to be a barrier. It’s not anymore….we want to be hub, we want to be a nucleus.”
The YMCA is named after Wayman Palmer, a community leader and Toledo Public Schools educator who dedicated his life to service in the Warren Sherman neighborhood bringing millions of dollars of investment to the community in his lifetime.
Partners at the Wayman Y include the City of Toledo, Community health professional, Head Start, Peloton®, RFS Behavioral Health, Riverside Elementary, Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank and United Way.