Y Not More?


I am really glad that our 15-year-old Y is going to expand.

Don’t get me wrong. My family and I hold a membership in the Y, and we love it the way it is.

But we’re one of 5,100 memberships in a facility that was designed for only 3,000.

Expansion will be a good thing.

I understand from reading the Chronicle and other papers that there will be many excellent new features at the expanded Y. Rooftop solar power. New locker rooms. Men’s and women’s saunas. An outdoor café, with tables and benches. A “hot tub for elders.” (Note to churches that have “elders”: This probably does not mean you.) An outdoor aquatic center. (Maybe like the indoor pool we already have, but with skin cancer.) A 2,600-square-foot “splash ground” for kids, with “apparatus” for spraying and climbing. According to the Salem News, the outdoor pool will be heated (probably usable May to September), and there will be water slides, basketball nets, an access ramp for folks in wheelchairs, and more.

Very cool. Truly. Executive Director Gerry Beauchamp, board president Jeff Loeb, and the steering committee of Ed Dick, Mike Jones, and Nancy Warner are to be commended. Groundbreaking is slated for September, with a grand opening maybe the following spring.

And the whole thing will happen for only $3.6 million — with the first $2.4 million already raised, between Labor Day and New Year’s Eve. Two big donors, at $1.5 and $0.5 million (and at least for now anonymous), will eventually get their names affixed to the facilities. Other areas are still up for name-recognition grabs till summer. I’m thinking of inquiring. Depending on the going rates, I wouldn’t mind being remembered in perpetuity for donating the “Outsidah Commemorative Condiments Kiosk.”

Of course, the Y expansion is still a work in progress. I’m sure of this because my friend Christopher Doktor is the architect, and he also designed the drive-through for the Dunkin’ Donuts at Lord’s Square. So I’m sure there will be a drive-through at the Y; it’s just not in the drawings yet. A drive-through workout will be very, very popular, at least with me.

Other details I’d like Chris to make happen at the newly expanded Y in time for the Grand Opening:

Scan experiment

  1. Aerobic clam flats, with free lessons. (“Dig! And pull! And lift! And bucket! Dig, and deeper! And lift, and bucket!”)
  2. High-tech treadmill with cholesterol medication auto-delivery tube.
  3. Piping plovers playground, no humans allowed.
  4. Mini-theatre with endless-loop video featuring the imminent opening of the brew pub.
  5. Smoking room for “old farts,” with live Web streaming to OldIpswichStories.com so we can all enjoy their remembrances.
  6. Kayaking lane in the pool, ideal for nervous landlubbers.
  7. Move the VFW bar to poolside. Doubles as a distribution center for all Ipswich breweries.
  8. In the lobby: Marty’s Memorial Donuts.

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