The YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth is moving forward with two major projects designed to build community connections and enhance well-being, thanks to $3.89 million in federal funding earmarked to support renovation of its Eastside YMCA and the construction of an outdoor recreation area at the William M. McDonald YMCA. Both projects are made possible through the support of U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey (TX-33) who advocated for the facilities in recently passed federal funding.
The H.R. 4502 Seven-Bill Appropriations Minibus includes $2.4 million for the revitalization of the Eastside YMCA at 1500 Sandy Lane, Fort Worth. In addition, a separate funding allocation set aside nearly $1.49 million for a new covered outdoor community activity and wellness space at the William M. McDonald YMCA at 2701 Moresby St., Fort Worth.
YMCA President and CEO Mike Brown said the YMCA is investing in people, community centers and programs that help improve the well-being of residents. That includes creating modern facilities that meet the needs of individual communities and developing programs that support the YMCA’s mission across the region.
“These facilities are an important part of the YMCA’s commitment to offer opportunities for people of all ages to connect and engage in order to improve quality of life in the communities we serve,” said Brown. “We want to provide safe gathering spaces and programs that enable our residents to grow in body, mind and spirit. We are extremely grateful that Congressman Veasey helped ensure these plans can move forward.”
The funding is part of more than $30.4 million in Community Project Funding that Rep. Veasey secured to respond directly to the pressing needs of North Texas.
“I am proud to have fought for funding that will help strengthen communities across North Texas,” Rep. Veasey said. “These projects will help the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth achieve its vision of strengthening families by allowing young and old alike to nurture physical, social and emotional connections.”
The Eastside YMCA was originally built in 1968, but then closed to all but vital services during the pandemic. Building damage caused by the winter storm of February 2021 and, months later, destructive vandalism delayed plans to reopen.
The new Eastside YMCA will be a reimagined as an expanded community hub, with emphasis on programs for the development of children and teens. The newly envisioned Eastside YMCA will offer modern spaces for wellness, a kitchen for cooking and demonstrations, teen programming (including mental health services, career exploration and social events), senior connections and community gatherings. Plans also call for early learning programs, and a water park and play pool to facilitate family outdoor experiences and support water safety and drowning prevention initiatives. The YMCA will partner with other nonprofit organizations, allowing area residents to access wraparound services that address challenges facing youth and families.
The newly committed federal funds for the project will be supplemented through $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding administered by Tarrant County as well as fundraising and philanthropy. The YMCA is seeking additional funding to fulfill its vision of a $10 million renovation. Work is set to begin this spring, with the first phase of the new Eastside YMCA expected to open in 2024.
William M. McDonald YMCA
Federal funds will also cover the cost of an outdoor community activity and wellness space at the William M. McDonald YMCA in southeast Fort Worth. This pavilion-style facility will serve as a neighborhood fitness destination, and a safe and reliable place for residents to exercise and play outdoors. Outdoor fitness activities offer all the benefits of indoor exercise, plus vital exposure to sunlight and stress reduction linked to fresh air.
In addition to offering health and wellness activities, the open-air, versatile space will be responsive to community needs, with the ability to host concerts, festivals, family movie nights and other community events.
The timeline for construction at the William M. McDonald YMCA is in development. The facility will be eco-friendly, made of aluminum, steel and sustainable plastics.
“The YMCA is the one organization that supports the full continuum of life in our communities — from infant care to senior programs that enrich lives,” said Lillie Biggins, longtime community leader and YMCA board member. “Congressman Veasey is a committed servant leader who is laser-focused on improving the lives of all people, and he understands the value that the YMCA brings to families and the entire community. Our programs will be better and stronger in the future as a result of his contributions.”