Regional YMCA $50,000 closer to reality

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Mon., Jan. 13, 2014
(L to r) Brandy Gregg, Board of Directors, Charter Oak Credit Union; Brian Orenstein, CEO, Charter Oak Credit Union' James Morton, president & CEO, YMCA of Greater Hartford' Gray Wolff, chairman, Metro Hartford YMCA.
(L to r) Brandy Gregg, Board of Directors, Charter Oak Credit Union; Brian Orenstein, CEO, Charter Oak Credit Union' James Morton, president & CEO, YMCA of Greater Hartford' Gray Wolff, chairman, Metro Hartford YMCA.

A $50,000 donation from Charter Oak Credit Union to the YMCA on Jan. 10 brought the dream of a Regional Community YMCA closer to reality, said state Sen. Donald Williams (D-29) “This is a huge step forward for northeastern Connecticut,” he said. “It’s a shot in the arm for Putnam and the entire area.”

Williams said the creation of a RCYMCA would have a direct impact on the quality of life in the area. It would benefit the health and wellness of residents, attract employers to the area, and provide healthy, wholesome activities for children, adults and families, he said. “That’s what this is all about.”

Williams was instrumental in securing a $3.745 million grant for the project two years ago.

“This is the exact type of project that we wanted to get involved in,” said Brian Orenstein, CEO of Charter Oak Credit Union.

Putnam Mayor Tony Falzarano thanked Charter Oak for the donation. “People can’t wait,” he said. “I’ll put the Y on my back and shoulders. It will benefit everyone in the community.”

Plans for a RCYMCA have been in the works for years. With a $3 million donation from the Hale family, a $2.5 million investment from the YMCA, $5 million in grants and foundation funds, and $2.5 million raised through private donations, construction on the proposed 40,000-square-foot facility could begin in the spring.

Plans call for an indoor lap pool, a recreational pool, a health and wellness center, gymnasium, and exercise and community rooms.

The programs and services will be accessible to all, said GHYMCA President and CEO James Morton. “It will contribute to the economic vitality of eastern Connecticut,” he said.

Putnam resident Lauren Dignam is excited about a RCYMCA coming to the area. “It seems like it will be something for everyone,” she said.

Putnam Science Academy Athletic Director Thomas Espinosa said the Y would be a great addition to the town because of the activities it could sponsor. “It would also be great for our students,” he said. 

“It’s time for an upgrade in this area,” said Dayville resident Pam Lomerson. “It will be nice to have a state-of-the-art facility in this community.”


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