YMCA project gets $900K from economic developers

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 2:49 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The Watertown YMCA has gotten the funding it was seeking for its planned community and aquatics center on Arsenal Street.

At a meeting of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency and Jefferson County Local Development Corporation Thursday, the groups decided to make available the $900,000 the Y was asking for from county lawmakers but were denied.

The money will be a mix of a $400,000 grant and not collecting a $500,000 lease payment from the Y for the building, which the JCIDA owns, with the hope of getting repaid in the future.

Earlier this week, county lawmakers said no to giving the Y $880,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to help convert the former call center into a new community and aquatics center.

Dave Zembiec, JCIDA chief executive officer, says a key reason for supporting the project is its expected economic impact.

“This is a huge economic development project - up to $30 million investment in our city center, our county seat, and what it means to business attraction, amenities, the people we’re trying to attract to the area, it would impact on drawing more activity to the downtown,” said Zembiec.

Even with this funding, at last word, the project still has a $7 or $8 million gap in funding. The Y’s board will make a decision next week about moving forward with the project.

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