So in the world of imaginary improvements to Jackson Street, we ask you to consider this: what if we could get the YMCA to move from its dated, poorly laid out facility down near Madison to a new modern facility in the center of our neighborhood?
Have you been to the Shoreline YMCA? It’s airy, gigantic, filled with light and plenty of space for the many types of community programs the YMCA does. Not only that, it has a cafe, climbing wall and indoor playground for the kiddies. It’s a pleasure to be in and rather different that the glum prison-block feeling of our windowless workout room here in the Central District. The difference is shocking.
We would imagine that there are plenty of developers who would jump at the chance to buy the lot that the YMCA is currently on given the amazing views and that with a more centally-located and modern facility, the YMCA could better serve the Central District while attracting folks who don’t care a thing about the non-profit work the Y does, but are interested in a quality gym. It takes those folks to help pay for all the other work the Y does.
Don’t get us wrong, we love the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA. They have great staff and many awesome classes to take. They are an important part of keeping our community healthy, but we can’t help to think that there’s an opportunity that ought to be explored in having them be part of a more vibrant 23rd and Jackson, perhaps as one of the anchors in a redeveloped Promenade 23.