During the past year and a half, the YMCA at White Rock has sold its current space to Lincoln Property Co., identified a new location, won over the neighborhood and is about to kick start fundraising to construct a new facility.
The YMCA will stay in its current location on Gaston and Garland until the aquatic season is finished in the fall, because the new, similar location does not have a pool and the YMCA is looking for another solution. Originally, the YMCA planned to stay at the current location before moving to Gaston and Loving in the summer of 2014.
The plans changed when the purchaser of the YMCA’s current space needed a faster timeline to move in. Lacey LaPointe, YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas vice president of development, said Lincoln Property worked with them on a transitional space and they will move into a new facility across the street rent-free for two years. “We’re just getting out of the way of progress, which is pretty great,” LaPointe said. “[Lincoln Property] is being an excellent partner in this to us.”
LaPointe said moving to their new location by 2014 depends on how well fundraising goes. She said it is a $12 million project and after the sale of the current location, the YMCA will still need to raise $6 million through private donations. Lakewood Neighborhood Association President Alex Winslow said it is very important for the neighborhood to come forward to ensure the YMCA becomes everything they want it to be. The YMCA’s chosen location is the former Trinity Lutheran Church, which has been vacant since 2006 and sits on the border of Lakewood and Lakewood Hills. LaPointe said Lincoln Property’s redevelopment of the shopping center, where the YMCA is currently located, spurred them to seriously consider constructing their own building. The YMCA at White Rock has been in the neighborhood for 127 years and this will be the first time it has its own facility.
“We moved into the facility knowing it could potentially be a temporary space for us,” LaPointe said. “It was a wonderful catalyst that allowed us to really dream our dream.” There was a hitch, though. The property was zoned for single-family homes and needed rezoning to proceed with the purchase. The church is not exactly an eyesore. From the street it looks a little dingy, but broken stained glass windows, holes in the exterior walls and boarded windows and doors become apparent upon closer inspection. Although the building is run down, residents had resisted previous attempts to build a nursing home, apartments and condos in the past. LaPointe said the neighborhood may have been more welcoming because of the YMCA’s approach to the neighborhood. She said they want to be “intentional and sincere” neighbors and tried to understand the neighborhood’s priorities, which means preserving the green space and altering an existing exit so headlights do not shine onto a neighbor’s home.
Joe Kast lives across the street from the church and expressed concerns about increased traffic and headlights at previous neighborhood association meetings. La Pointe said the YMCA consulted with Kast about his concerns but was unsure if he still had reservations about the new facility; he did not wish to comment for this article. However, strong support is coming from the rest of the neighborhood and many yards sport an “I support my YMCA” sign.
“I think that the Y is a very respectful organization that’s taken a very retrospective and community focused approach,” Winslow said. “I think it’s going to be a real jewel.” Winslow is also excited about the Lincoln Property development that spurred the YMCA’s move. Lin Gold, a Lakewood resident and Lakewood Neighborhood Association webmaster, said the development is beneficial to everyone – two areas of the neighborhood will be better utilized and Far West nightclub will close.
“My husband and I own a home here and we think it’s a fabulous thing, and it seems to be a win-win situation for everybody,” Gold said.