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Published: Saturday, 8/14/2004

YMCA exploring Waterville branch feasibility

The YMCA of Greater Toledo is considering opening a Waterville branch.

The Browning Masonic Community, a 450-acre retirement complex in Waterville, has offered to donate 15 acres as the site for a YMCA branch.

"A YMCA would tremendously benefit our residents and the entire area," Sharon Kaczmarek, marketing coordinator for the retirement community, said.

The YMCA was not looking to build any facilities in the area, but is now examining the feasibility of a Waterville branch because of the offer. Stephanie Dames, vice president of development for YMCA of Greater Toledo, said it takes years of planning before construction begins on a YMCA building.

"We're going to move forward with the research, but we're a long way away from a new branch," she said. "The potential could be great, and there's certainly a lot of interest."

YMCA officials will look at the demographics of the area, poll community members to determine what features the branch should include, and study whether the agency could raise enough to fund construction of a branch.

Jay Bahr, Waterville's village administrator, said many residents want a pool and other recreation facilities in the area. Since voters defeated Anthony Wayne Area Joint Recreation District levies this month that would have funded construction of an athletic complex, officials are excited about the possibility of a YMCA opening locally.

"It's a need in the community," Mr. Bahr said.

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