NEW BUFFALO — The YMCA of Southwest Michigan is pursuing an agreement with St. Mary of the Lake Church in New Buffalo and other community groups to open a YMCA community center in the parochial school building behind the church at 704 West Merchant St.

Programming at the community center currently includes an Early Head Start Program and day care. Head Start plans to have children in the space in November utilizing three classrooms in the school building. The YMCA will manage the development of a day care center with a targeted opening date of March 2020.

“Our day care center will be focused around enrichment activities that enhance early childhood development,” said Mark D. Weber, CEO, YMCA of Southwest Michigan. “This facility will allow us to provide adaptable care for both the local community and seasonal second-home families.”

A fund-raising campaign will kick off in early 2020 with the goal of raising $1.6 million to fully implement the community-based YMCA center. Net income from operations is expected to break even in three years. An annual fund-raising campaign will be put in place to subsidize childcare and Y services to families in need.

Future plans for the new facility also include health and wellness initiatives, fitness classes, a workout facility, and a gymnasium for sports programs.

“The Y is excited to engage Katie Maroney from Equilibrium Fitness in our plans to develop the community health and fitness initiative,” said Weber. “Katie and the YMCA have a shared vision of establishing a center that will provide the residents of Harbor Country with much-needed health and wellness programs and opportunities.”

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