A valiant effort wasn’t enough to generate the amount of money needed to break ground on a YMCA facility for Ottawa.

The two-year fundraising push was preceded by years and years of tireless efforts, but it wasn’t enough to sufficiently move the project forward. Our thanks go to those who attempted to make the new facility a reality. They championed the cause despite much adversity. Those donors, who wanted to help people of all ages live more healthful and better lives, still can accomplish much of what they intended with their gifts.

For those wanting a facility, Ottawa already offers a wonderful recreation facility at 15th and Ash streets — the Ottawa Community Recreation Center/Goppert Building. This site could be enhanced and expanded with the donations originally earmarked for the YMCA project. Goppert building enhancements could include such amenities as the indoor pool and locker rooms YMCA donors were seeking. A portion of the $2 million in donations could go a long way toward building a recreation foundation fund to eventually add on to the existing Goppert building. Similarly, the funds could greatly benefit the Ottawa Police Foundation, Ottawa’s Communities in Schools program, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Ottawa University, among others that capably serve the community with needed services for youth.

The Ottawa Community Partnership Inc. organization that advocated for the YMCA would like to see the donors allow the group to pass the donations on to other groups that work toward benefiting youth and other community members’ health and well-being.

Many of the YMCA’s purposes still can be fulfilled, albeit through different organizations, because the ideals of building a healthy spirit, mind and body for all remains ingrained in those donors and YMCA advocates today.

— Jeanny Sharp, editor and publisher