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Assembly Speaker visits Plattsburgh to announce funding for major YMCA renovation

New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie continued his summer statewide tour in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning to announce funding for a new headquarters for the local YMCA.

The Bronx Democrat was among the dignitaries gathered at the Wellness Center on the former Plattsburgh Air Force base, and he took a few minutes to shoot some hoops before the formal program began.

People had gathered to hear a major announcement from the Plattsburgh YMCA.

The Plattsburgh YMCA is currently headquartered in a downtown Oak Street building. In 2021 it reported serving 8,000 people, outgrowing the 26,500-square foot building space. Plattsburgh YMCA CEO Justin Ihne announced the acquisition of the new building from the Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital.

“We’re thrilled to announce that we’re moving forward with the plans to revolutionize what a YMCA looks like," Ihne said. "If you’ve been down in the City I know the Speaker’s new YMCA in the Bronx, over in Burlington and in Albany as well, YMCA’s look and feel a whole lot different. This project is going to be a $13 million renovation coming in two phases.”

The completed project will include an updated aquatic center, dedicated community gathering and learning spaces, and expanded services for youth and teens.

Heastie related how he had long wanted a state-of-the-art community center where he lives and the YMCA was the only organization that stepped forward to build it. He said he enthusiastically supported providing state funding to help with the Plattsburgh renovations.

“I’m a huge fan of the YMCA," Heastie said. "You know we put together pots of money in the budget to do things just like this: a facility that is intergenerational. Particularly want our young people to be put into positive places. And I’m pretty sure that we’ll come back and do something to even help fund Phase Two as well.”

As a check from New York state for $1 million was displayed, Democratic Assemblyman D. Billy Jones of the 115th district announced that amount had actually been increased.

“With the Speaker’s generosity we’re going to give $1 million for this facility today," Jones announced. "But actually the check says a million, but the Speaker loves this facility so much we’re upping it, he’s upping it to $1.2 million we’re giving to this facility today.”

The added amount stunned YMCA CEO Ihne, who said it guarantees the first phase of the project.

“We are so incredibly grateful for this," Ihne said. "This assures the first phase of our project. Look at that. Within a half an hour we’ve secured the first phase of this project. This is incredible!”

Speaker Heastie then took a tour of the facility and afterwards further increased the amount of funding to $1.3 million.

The Y has received $1.9 million in federal funding for the project secured by New York Senator Charles Schumer.

Renovations will begin this fall and officials hope to open the new facility next fall.

YMCA officials plan to maintain operations at their existing Oak Street and U.S. Oval locations.