The YMCA of Greater Miami started downtown in 1916 with the dream of enhancing Dade County communities. In 1918, its first building was opened with just 300 members. Today, there are five YMCA locations throughout Miami-Dade County serving tens of thousands of members.
In just a few short weeks, the newest YMCA Family Center will open across from The Falls Shopping Center, replacing a facility that has far outgrown its bulging walls. The gleaming glass structure will allow vast expansion of an already thriving South Dade YMCA community.
By the numbers, this building is more than impressive. At 40,000 square-feet, it houses a 7,300-square-foot basketball gymnasium, two hardwood floor exercise studios, two large community rooms, a 900-square-foot Kids Zone (split into two age groups: toddler to 4 and ages 5-12), and a huge second-floor wellness center at nearly 7,000-square feet. In short, there will be plenty of room for existing members and for explosive growth.
“We have roughly 4000 people with us right now in the old facility and we’ll more than triple that before the end of 2013,” says executive director Andy Weighill. “The new space really affords us the ability to vastly expand our programming for members.”
“The new facility is so much larger than our existing Family Center that you could easily fit that building inside the new gymnasium,” says Charlotte Donn, assistant vice president of marketing and communications.
The best part of the new Y is how open everything feels. Windows let in tons of natural light and areas aren’t walled off; instead they flow into one another. The careful thought behind the facility is apparent at every turn, with efficient design evident everywhere and lots of room to grow.
The locker rooms and equipment are state of the art. No detail was left to chance.
With basketball moving indoors, the YMCA will add lacrosse, soccer and volleyball to its outdoor offerings. Camps will expand their options as well, even offering a Princesses Camp to young girls.
Once the facility opens, the old building will be torn down. Within 2-3 years, a pool will be built where the old building stood.
The new YMCA Family Center is now slated to open in late February. To help garner exposure and to partner with area businesses, the YMCA will be hosting the Taste of Pinecrest event on April 7. They expect to have about 10,000 people come out for the event.
Whether an existing member or a potential new one, this is an exciting time for area residents who can now take advantage of a new world-class wellness center nearby.
Another Girl Scout Cookies season has passed us by. I know this by the many Thin Mints boxes piled up in our freezer and the thought of doing a few more sit-ups in my head.
Ligia Rodriguez, along with daughters Emma, 7, Siani, 9, and Brianna, 11, camped outside the Suniland Shopping Center Starbucks on a recent Saturday morning.
They spent a few hours hoping to sell lots of cookies to shoppers in addition to the door-to-door efforts they already made. “If I can sell 2,000 boxes of cookies, I earn a laptop and get to swim with the dolphins,” explained Emma.
Siani quickly jumped in to make sure I understood that all three sisters would share the laptop.
The Girl Scouts have been selling cookies like this since 1917. I, for one, am already thinking about my selections for next year.
HAL’S HOMEOWNER HELP
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