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Wellmark YMCA Prepares to Open, but Still Needs State Funding

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DES MOINES, Iowa - The new Wellmark YMCA building downtown is less than a month from opening, and while most of the facility will be fully-operational by January 1, 2015, there is still a project awaiting state funding in order to be completed.

The YMCA of Greater Des Moines is asking the state for a $1 million grant to help cover the cost of a 50-meter swimming pool at the facility. Tim Short, executive director of the Wellmark YMCA, says the pool was never intended to be ready by opening day, anyway.

"Phase 2 of the project is actually the digging out and finalizing of the pool," he said. "Phase 1 was renovating the complex, and building the cover over the pool. And then, Phase 2 will continue when we have the funding necessary to finish building the pool - hopefully still in 2015."

Jessica O'Reilly of Vision Iowa, the committee responsible for awarding the grant on behalf of Iowa Economic Development, says her organization likes to be "the last dollar in" when granting money - meaning they likely won't award this grant unless the YMCA of Greater Des Moines can prove how they intend to gather the rest of the funds necessary for the pool.

"It's about $11.5 million total for the pool project, and they've indicated in meetings with us that they're still at a $3 million fundraising shortfall, after our $1 million contribution," she said. "We need to know how they intend to gather the rest of the funds first."

O'Reilly says a decision won't be reached until February at the earliest, since the committee doesn't meet in January. The Wellmark YMCA will begin public tours on December 20th. For dates and times you can get a tour, visit their website.

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