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With fundraising nearing goal, a new YMCA facility for Eugene is on the horizon

Eugene Family YMCA CEO Brian Steffen (left) and CDO Danielle Uhlhorn (right) at the future site of the new Y center.
Brian Bull
Eugene Family YMCA CEO Brian Steffen (left) and CDO Danielle Uhlhorn (right) at the future site of the new Y center.

The Eugene Family YMCA plans to break ground on its new facility next July. That news comes as the "Y" nears its $42 million fundraising goal.

On the corner of Hilyard and 24th Avenue, signage shows where the next Y will be built. It’ll be more spacious, accessible, and modernized than the current one, which was built in 1955.

The Y’s Chief Development Officer, Danielle Uhlhorn, told KLCC that they’re just $5 million away from hitting goal. And they’re getting a boost in their efforts.

“We’re so grateful to a donor who, like me received services once upon a time and has generously offered a $500,000 match to the community. So for every dollar that we receive up to $500,000, they will also donate. So very exciting time for us.”

Membership levels at the Eugene Family YMCA are not yet fully back to pre-pandemic levels, but administrators are hopeful they’ll rebound by the time a new facility is built.

The Y’s Chief Executive Officer, Brian Steffen, acknowledged COVID-19 fears have kept some members away from the community group’s shared spaces. But he said it’s remained a resource throughout the pandemic.

”Often times the Y is viewed as just a place to exercise, but our focus is so much more," said Steffen. "We’re holistically focused on the health of our members and the community, whether it’s’ education or disease prevention, building relationships, building connections, helping people fight depression or discouragement or loneliness.”

Thanks to nearly 700 donors, the Y is near its fundraising goal. If all goes to plan, groundbreaking will happen next July, with a grand opening of the new facility in December 2023.

The City of Eugene approved the building permit for the new Y earlier this month. The Y has served the Eugene community since 1887.

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Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.