Danvers YMCA renovations to enhance accessibility, child care programs

August 3, 2023 : The Salem News, Caroline Enos

DANVERS — The Danvers Community YMCA will become more accessible and have its child care facilities upgraded through renovations funded by a $4 million tax-exempt bond order issued by MassDevelopment.

This project will also update plumbing, sprinkler systems and HVAC infrastructure inside the Pickering Street facility, built in 1950, as well as create a new elevator for better access to the Y’s cardio center and enhance its overall ADA compliance, according to a joint statement from the Danvers Y and MassDevelopment Monday.

Crews will also relocate the men’s and women’s locker rooms to the first level so they are more accessible, and youth locker rooms will be replaced with a family changing room, according to the statement.

These improvements will allow the facility to better serve Danvers, Boxford, Middleton, Topsfield and other surrounding communities, Danvers Y President and CEO John Somes said in the statement.

“These improvements will allow us to make our building more accessible to our senior members, provide additional wellness programs for all and grow our childcare to meet the demands for quality preschool, after-school and summer camp programs,” Somes said. “We are thankful for the support MassDevelopment has provided and making this project become a reality.”

The Danvers Y is able to serve more than 300-500 children each day in its after-school programs, summer camps, swim lessons and preschool, along with other programs, according to the statement.

Construction on the project started last month, and is expected to last for about a year, Somes said in an email to The Salem News.

“The town is very excited for the YMCA as it undertakes this important project to modernize the building, improve accessibility and expand program offerings — especially preschool programming,” Town Manager Steve Bartha said in the statement. “The positive outcomes of this project will benefit stakeholders across our community and beyond.”

Salem Five Bank purchased the bond to help the Y achieve a lower cost of capital on the project, according to the statement.

“For over 75 years, the Danvers Community YMCA has improved the well-being of our region, thanks to its facilities and vital programs,” said Kevin Rourke, Salem Five’s head of commercial banking. “We’re proud to partner with MassDevelopment on this transformative project, which will help the Danvers Y further its mission and enhance its crucial service offerings.”

In 2021, MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency and land bank, issued a $10.5 million tax-exempt bond to help the YMCA of the North Shore renovate and expand 67 affordable studio apartments in downtown Beverly. It has also provided more than $22 million in tax-exempt bonds to support YMCA projects in Newton, Pittsfield and on Cape Cod over the last two years.

“Nonprofit organizations serve an important role in our state’s economy and provide critical services that drive economic development, forge healthy communities and help residents thrive,” MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors chair and Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao said.