Ottawa’s new riverfront YMCA walls could go up within the next 3 weeks

Mild winter is aiding progress on new building

A view of the new riverfront YMCA on Feb. 1, 2023 in Ottawa. Construction on the $25.7 million, 67,000-square-foot riverfront YMCA continues to progress. The new facility is expected to be completed in the spring of 2024.

The walls of the new riverfront YMCA in Ottawa could go up within the next few weeks aided along by the mild winter construction season.

Ottawa YMCA President Joe Capece said Monday construction is moving at a faster-than-expected pace.

“So we’ve had pretty decent weather so far and we’re hoping for continued good weather,” Capece said. “You’re actually going to see walls going up probably in the next two to three weeks. It’s so far so good right now.”

The Ottawa YMCA and its board members broke ground on the $25.7 million facility back in October, hitting a milestone in the journey to build the YMCA.

That journey began in 2018 after Capece was hired and the 24-person board conducted a market study that showed Ottawa has a great need for programming for teenagers and seniors. The YMCA construction is expected to take about 18 months from groundbreaking, meaning it could wrap up in late winter or spring 2024.

Capece said in October the YMCA has a complex capital stack that uses funding from community and corporate donations, the Rebuild Illinois grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, a low-interest loan from the USDA and the New Market Tax credit.

The new YMCA will have a community living room available for everyone, even nonmembers of the YMCA. Additionally, it will have a chapel, a natatorium with a competition pool and a warm water therapy pool, a kids’ adventure center, play and child watch areas, a walking and jogging track that overlooks the gymnasium and wellness area, multigenerational spaces that will provide areas for people of all ages to interact, a multipurpose room, a community demonstration kitchen for healthy eating, group exercise studios, locker rooms, a health and wellness center and clinical space for OSF HealthCare.