Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


October 17, 2013

YMCA expansion plans advancing

Project aiming to break ground next month


“That was an unmet need in the community we’re filling,” he said.

The design is similar to other YMCAs across the country, Ives said.

“That’s, really, standard and customary in Y design right now,” Ives said. “We’ve been using some consultants we’re working with on what the typical Y structure looks like.”

The Andover/North Andover YMCA is also partnering with Lawrence General Hospital to open a 5,000-square-foot Community Health and Physical Therapy Center at the site, Ives said.

And Merrimack College will also be bringing an Active Learning Center, integrating “both physical activity and STEM education,” to the facility, he said.

The entire expansion is expected to wrap up in early 2015. Existing programs will remain open during construction, Ives said.

“We’ll be moving functions around in the building to different places,” he said. “We don’t have the final details yet on all of the phasing, but we have a pretty good perspective on how it will all happen.”

The project went before the Planning Board last Tuesday, Oct. 8. At the meeting, the public was given a small window to comment or air their concerns about the proposal.

Katherine Lambert, a Haverhill Street resident, said her biggest concern was traffic. She said she wants to make sure a traffic study taking into account the expansion is completed.

“The cars come out at the exit of the YMCA, and there’s already a backup of traffic that causes some concern with potential accidents,” Lambert said.

Meanwhile, an attorney representing a neighboring condominium community also voiced some concerns over storm water drainage and flooding that could occur with the addition of 141 proposed parking spaces.

Ives said he was encouraged by the YMCA’s first meeting with the Planning Board.

“As with any project, there’s questions, there’s issues, and we’re happy that neighbors and people in the community are both supportive, but also sharing with us what their wishes and concerns are,” he said.

“Our plan is to address all those and make sure this is an accepted and exciting project for everybody in the community.”

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