Empire State Development Announces Groundbreaking for New $27.5 Million Watertown Family YMCA in Jefferson County

July 13, 2022

New Facility Will Allow the YMCA to Expand Programming and Services to Better Support Residents in the Community

Rendering Available Here

Empire State Development today announced the groundbreaking for the new $27.5 million Watertown Family YMCA in Watertown, Jefferson County. The new facility will repurpose a vacant, 89,000 square foot building in the heart of Downtown Watertown into a new family wellness, aquatics and fitness center that will benefit residents as well as adjacent communities.  Empire State Development provided a Capital Grant for $3.6 million to assist with construction and rehabilitation costs for the new facility.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “When completed, the new Watertown Family YMCA will be a centerpiece downtown, giving residents a fun, family focused gathering space that will bring new life to the heart of Watertown. Just as the current YMCA has been a part of the fabric of the city for over a century, the new Y will continue to bring countless benefits to a new generation of families well into the future.”

YMCA CEO Denise Young said, “We are so grateful for the support we have received to make this project a reality for our community.  This is not about a building, but about what will happen inside it, improving lives for the next five generations.”

The Watertown Family YMCA has provided valuable benefits such as swimming, exercise classes and a variety of after school, educational programs for the City of Watertown and surrounding communities for over a century. The 109-year-old pool, located on the second floor of the facility was recently closed and drained for structural and safely issues.  This new and modern facility will expand on its traditional programming to meet the diverse needs of the community and will include features such as lap and recreational pools, an indoor track, multi-sport courts, exercise studios and a wellness center as well as community rooms, a childcare facility, art space and a space for teens. Parking will be expanded from the current 12 spaces to 350 and the facility will have multiple entry and exit points in the modern and spacious building. Additionally, the new YMCA Community Center will enhance the City of Watertown’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, ensuring the Y’s legacy as an anchor in downtown that will continue to benefit the entire community.

Environmental Abatement of the facility was completed by the Jefferson County IDA in preparation for this project. The project has also been awarded a $9 million U.S. Department of Defense grant from the Defense Communities Infrastructure Pilot program to support military families at Fort Drum.

State Senator Pattie Ritchie said, “Across our state and country, YMCA facilities help to keep people healthy and active, as well as strengthen communities. With a new facility, the Watertown Family YMCA will be able to provide enhanced services and in turn, will make a difference in the lives of many more people throughout our region. I applaud New York State’s investment in this important effort and wish the Watertown Family YMCA the best as ground is broken and this project moves forward.”

Assemblymember Mark Walczyk said, "We're so excited to welcome the Y's Aquatics Center to downtown Watertown. This type of investment is exactly what the community needs to add to the momentum we've seen."

Jefferson County Administrator Robert F. Hagemann, III said, “On behalf of the Board of Legislators, I would like to congratulate the YMCA on their vision & tenacity in reaching this important groundbreaking milestone.  Jefferson County is pleased to have partnered with the JCIDA, NYS ESD, US DOD, numerous local businesses and area residents to help transform a vacant building into a much-needed health & recreation facility that will help anchor the westerly end of downtown Watertown.  We, along with the entire community, now look forward to the day that the door to this beautiful new facility opens to the public.”

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

Kristin Devoe (ESD): [email protected] | (518) 414-1087
ESD Press Office: [email protected] | (800) 260-7313