Working toward building a new, state-of-the art community recreation center, The YMCA of Muncie has sold its Downtown facility to the City of Muncie with a lease-back clause. The sale was finalized Thursday, Sept. 15 at the Muncie Redevelopment Commission meeting.
“Partnering with the City in this sale just made sense,” said Chad Zaucha, president and CEO of YMCA of Muncie. “The YMCA and the City of Muncie share common goals in unity: As a multi-faceted organization, the Y serves all segments of the community, giving everyone a place to belong.”
Mayor Dan Ridenour said the purchase was “an important investment for the community.”
“The City of Muncie is buying the current YMCA due to its strategic location downtown,” Ridenour said. “This area of downtown is the main gathering space of downtown events and therefore very critical to our long-term planning goals for Muncie. We like seeing the success already being achieved in the area and plan to seek out more uses that complement and enhance the area.”
The sale paves the way for the YMCA’s next step in its new facility project, for which plans were announced last year. As part of the project, the YMCA will consolidate its Downtown and Northwest facilities into one location on the campus of Muncie Central High School.
Because the new facility likely won’t be complete for a couple more years, the YMCA will continue to operate out of the current Downtown building via the lease-back agreement with the City.
“This sale ensures that there is a plan in place for this building once we are ready to move, while also ensuring anyone who uses these facilities can continue to do so with no interruption to their services,” Zaucha said. “Our members are our top priority throughout this process, so having a partner who’s willing to work with us in that way is huge. It’s a win-win-win.”
The new facility is expected to help spur economic momentum within the community, including the potential to increase neighboring property values, Zaucha said.
“The existing Downtown facility was built over 40-years ago, and the needs of the community are much different now than they were then,” Zaucha explained. “The new facility will be easily accessible to the community and will provide more space for our growing youth programs, intergenerational gathering places and more.”
The riverside location will also connect more people to the river recreationally, which aligns with a larger, years-long community vision for Muncie.
“The Y is so much more than a ‘gym and swim’—it exists to strengthen the foundation of the community and to improve the spirit, mind and body for all within that community,” Zaucha said. “This project will further connect Muncie to one of its greatest natural resources and demonstrate our commitment—and the City’s commitment—to a lifelong dedication to improving quality of life for everyone in our community.”