FAIRLESS HILLS >> The Bucks County Commissioners, the county’s Industrial Development Authority and the YMCA of Bucks County announced on Oct. 16 the approval of a $20 million, tax-free financing project to support the refinancing of long-term debt and planned improvements to YMCA facilities in Fairless Hills (formerly Lower Bucks Family YMCA) and Doylestown (formerly Central Bucks Family YMCA).
The Lower Bucks Family YMCA began in 1935 when 12 Bristol High School boys requested help to start a local affiliate, initially called the High-Y program, and eventually launching a girls group called Tri-Hi-Y. The organization incorporated in 1948 as the YMCA of Bristol. In 1956 the name was changed to the Lower Bucks County YMCA, and in 1960 it opened the first phase of the current facility in Fairless Hills.
The Central Bucks Family YMCA began in the mid-1960s when community leaders proposed the establishment of a Y. In the early years, programming was offered in several local churches and school buildings. In 1974, Mr. and Mrs. David Burpee deeded 7.5 acres of land to the Y and in 1979 the current facility was opened.
Lower Bucks Family YMCA and Central Bucks Family YMCA merged to form the YMCA of Bucks County in August 2018. In January 2019, they merged with Upper Bucks YMCA, forming one county-wide YMCA organization.
“We are pleased to be partnering through the county’s Industrial Development Authority with YMCA of Bucks County on these important projects that will benefit many residents in the community, and especially the children and families of Lower and Central Bucks,” said Robert G. Loughery, chair of the Bucks County Commissioners.
“Safe and affordable recreation in a family setting is a key ingredient in helping our communities in reducing the opioid epidemic," Loughery said.
"We greatly appreciate the support of the Bucks County Commissioners and the Industrial Development Authority," said Zane Moore, President and CEO of the YMCA of Bucks County. "We’ve been inspired by the support of the community for our campaign to fund these building projects and are excited to cross the campaign ‘finish line’ in the coming months with the community’s continued support and our partnership with the county."
A portion of the $20 million may be utilized to provide interim funding during construction to expand and refurbish the YMCA's Fairless Hills and Doylestown branches. In Fairless Hills, space will be reconfigured within the building's current footprint to allow for an expanded fitness center, new universal locker room, additional program space, community gathering area, and more parking, plus giving the building a new, modern look. In Doylestown, the fitness center will be expanded and a larger spin studio and new program space will be added, as will a new universal locker room.
“The tax-free financing project includes the refinance of existing debt, and finance of construction of capital improvements, and costs associated with the issuance of the Note, all related to the YMCA properties located in Doylestown Township, Quakertown Borough, and Bristol Township,” said Mary Smithson, chair of the Industrial Development Authority.