Janesville69.4°

Gift ensures Crossridge YMCA will go forward

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JAMES P. LEUTE
February 19, 2012
— A $1 million gift from a family with deep roots in Rock County will allow a new YMCA to open its doors between Janesville and Milton, perhaps as early as the end of this year.

The gift from fourth-generation members of the Parker family means the end is in sight for a $4.5 million capital campaign for the Crossridge YMCA, said Tom Den Boer, chief executive officer of the YMCA of Northern Rock County.


Construction is expected to start this summer and could take six to nine months. Depending on weather, the facility could open yet this year or early next year, he said.


The gift, announced by Patricia Parker Schultz and George S. Parker, includes a $500,000 contribution to construction costs.


The remaining $500,000 will be paid in the form of a challenge grant to individuals and businesses in Rock County. The Parkers will match community donations on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to $500,000.


“My sister and I are were both born and raised in Janesville and are pleased to continue this long family tradition in directing that funds from the Parker Charitable Trust be used in this way and in participating personally,” George Parker said in a news release.


“This project will assist in employment opportunities, not only during the construction phase, but for new YMCA employees in the new facility and will create a project infusing approximately $6 million dollars in the economy of Rock


County.”


The 25,000-square-foot Crossridge YMCA will sit on five acres that the YMCA bought in 2008. Off of Parkview Drive, it’s just north of Townline Road and just west of Highway 26.


In addition to outside play fields, it will include a 6,800-square-foot gymnasium and 5,000-square-foot fitness area. The facility also will have multipurpose areas, aerobic rooms, locker rooms, a youth center and a child care area.


It will not, however, include an aquatic center, which officials from the YMCA and Milton School District have discussed as an alternative to an aging swimming pool at the high school. The Crossridge YMCA site, however, does have space for a pool if that discussion moves forward, Den Boer said.


The Crossridge project is the result of a long-range strategic plan started in 2006 for the YMCA to be a full-service provider with convenient access to northern Rock County. Community surveys showed needs, and the YMCA is responding, Den Boer said.


“This is not a Milton Y or another Janesville Y,” he said, “It’s a regional Y that embraces both communities and meets the needs.”


Den Boer said the new facility will not affect the downtown Janesville YMCA as the organization’s flagship operation.


In 2006, the YMCA opened satellite storefronts on Janesville’s northeast side and in the city of Milton. Serving as market tests, the two centers proved that the new Crossridge facility is needed, Den Boer said.


The YMCA was prepared go forward on the Crossridge YMCA in 2008, but the economic downturn delayed fundraising.


“We’ve done a lot of due diligence on this, and the needs are still there,” Den Boer said. “Thanks to this gift from the Parker family, we’re confident that the capital support is there, as well.”


Den Boer said he spent a week in early December with Alex Parker, George’s son and a fifth-generation member of the Parker family.


“Alex spent the week surveying the needs of Rock County,” Den Boer said. “He was very thorough.”


The Parker family has a long history of supporting causes and meeting needs in Rock County, starting with the charitable giving of George S. Parker, founder of the Parker Pen Co. The family bought the land on which Craig High School stands. It also helped renovate the Janesville Public Library, has provided extensive support for Rotary Gardens and made private commitments to Mercy Hospital and the colleges in Milton and Beloit.


“Our parents expected the next generation of successful Janesville people to support community ventures and frequently articulated the position that leading families and successful individuals should always give back to their communities,” Parker said.


“ … It is our hope that the people and businesses of Rock County will meet the challenge posed by the grant portion of the gift and raise sufficient funding to see this project through as the YMCA board has so carefully planned.”


Janesville-based Angus-Young Associates and J.P. Cullen & Sons will provide architectural and construction services for Crossridge YMCA, Den Boer said.



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