Downtown Kansas City YMCA opening in phases: Look inside this ‘legacy moment’

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A sizeable new development in the Library District downtown is hoping to support urban families with state-of-the-art athletic facilities and family programs.

“This is a legacy moment for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City to come back downtown and be a part of the metro right here in the central part of the city,” Mark Hulet, COO of the new Y, said.

The new Kirk Family YMCA in downtown Kansas City is planning to open in phases, beginning with enrollment for a summer day camp program scheduled to start June 7. The camp will support working families and help kids who have had their learning disrupted by the pandemic by giving them an opportunity to continue to learn throughout the summer.

The Kirk Family YMCA, located at 222 W 11th Street in the former Lyric Theatre building, was created to support those who live and work downtown. The Y plans to open the full facility by the end of the year when more workers return to downtown and more individuals and families are ready to return to a community center.

Summer camp activities will take advantage of building amenities including the indoor pools, gym and an outdoor artificial turf field behind the building. The camp will follow the curriculum of Y camps throughout the metro, with each week featuring a unique theme and activities that promote physical movement, social interaction, educational opportunities, leadership, personal growth and creativity.

Registration is open now for the camp at the Kirk Family YMCA and camps throughout the metro. For more information and to register, visit KansasCityYMCA.org/Camp.

About the development

The $35-million renovation and reconstruction project was funded by $16.9 million from the 11th Street Corridor Tax Increment Financing District, additional funding from the Missouri Development Finance Board, as well as charitable gifts from foundations and individual donors.

“It’s a labor of love for sure to take a building that has been here since 1926, take the antiquated components of it and try to bring it up to standards of 2020,” Hulet said.

The Y is named for the Kirk family, longtime YMCA of Greater Kansas City donors and supporters of the new downtown Y. 

Features of the new 62,000-square-foot Kirk Family YMCA include: 

  • Preservation of the facade and lobby of the historic building, including the original marble floors, ornate ceiling finishes and more to become the new Y entrance.
  • A 42,000-square-foot section of new construction built on the north side of the lobby featuring a contemporary design. 
  • Behind the building, there is an outdoor space for events and youth sports.
  • Dramatic two-story windows in the new limestone walls along Central Street bringing natural light into the space and creating a contemporary, eye-catching look for the building’s exterior. The limestone came from the same quarry that provided the limestone for the original Lyric building. 

Amenities inside the new Kirk Family YMCA include:

  • Three community rooms for a variety of activities, including one with a teaching kitchen for healthy eating, nutrition and cooking classes.
  • An indoor activity pool and lap pool for swim lessons, exercise and recreational opportunities.
  • A gymnasium that can be used for basketball, volleyball, and other sports.
  • A large health and wellness area offers a space for guests to improve their health through cardiovascular exercise and strength training featuring the latest state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Three studios for group exercise.
  • A suspended indoor walking and jogging track that will offer views of the lower levels of the center.

For more information about the project, visit DowntownKCY.org.

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