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Nonprofit proposes YMCA, community center for Des Moines

February 12, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A nonprofit wants to build a YMCA and community center in a low-income neighborhood near downtown Des Moines to provide the area with access to the same resources as those offered in the suburbs.

Pillars of Promise’s proposal includes a new 87,000-square-foot (8,080-sq. meter) YMCA, outdoor recreational fields and a community center to offer health services and educational opportunities in the King-Irving neighborhood. The nonprofit is interested in developing 7 acres of city-owned land for the project.

The City Council approved the group’s letter of intent last week to provide a 99-year lease for the land at $1 per year, the Des Moines Register reported .

Pillars of Promise can now begin fundraising for the project. The nonprofit works to fight intergenerational poverty in Des Moines by organizing and recruiting existing local groups to meet residents’ needs.

The group will need to decide which local organizations will offer services at the community center.

“The children in this area should have the same resources at their disposal as children in the suburbs,” said Michele Farrell, a Pillars of Promise board member. “Think about if a child would come to the Y for a basketball camp, then maybe walk over and get a vaccination, or they can go to their reading program. It’s really ... everything in one place.”

According to Pillars of Promise, Des Moines’ central neighborhoods face challenges including higher levels of fatherless homes, lower rates of high school graduation and financial literacy and higher rates of crime, incarceration and poverty. The neighborhoods also have limited access to transportation.

“Lots of neighborhoods and lots of communities will benefit from the facility and the services that emerge from it,” said Bobbretta Brewton, a board member.

The city’s letter expires in one year. The council will consider other projects should the nonprofit’s plans fall through.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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