LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A ceremony 10 years in the works happened Thursday morning in the California neighborhood: a groundbreaking for the newest YMCA of Greater Louisville location.
The $28 million investment on 18th and Broadway is expected to attract 200,000 visitors a year.
Officially named the Republic Bank Foundation YMCA, the 77,500 square foot facility in the 1700 block of W. Broadway will be built on the site of a former tobacco warehouse, near Roosevelt Perry Elementary School.
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"A lot of our students walk to school," Nichole Marshall said. "Being able to walk to the Y and do their basketball leagues builds upon what we are trying to teach them at school."
Marshall is the principal at Roosevelt Perry Elementary School. For years the school has waited for the YMCA to begin work on their two-story health facility.
The structure will contain a state-of-the-art fitness center, 25-meter swimming lap/family pool, gymnasium, classrooms, modern locker rooms, an indoor track and a Kid's Club that will provide childcare while members exercise.
"It encourages them that there is something positive happening in their neighborhood," Marshall said.
The Y has developed a partnership with nearby elementary schools with the possibility of swim classes and nutritional instruction.
"We are expanding people's choices," Steve Tarver, the CEO of the YMCA of Great Louisville, said. "We want to make the healthy choice the easy and natural choice."
The YMCA will be built along the Broadway street front and have 170 parking spaces, along with multi-use fields in the rear.
But Tarver says the Y is more than just fitness.
Republic Bank and Trust will also have a 2,700 square foot branch at the facility. Other occupants will include Norton Health Care, Family & Children's Place and ProRehab Physical Therapy.
"There are many vulnerabilities for people to achieve their greatest outcome and health," Tarver said. "That metric and demographic drove us to West Louisville."
West Louisville is seeing other investments, including Passport Health and the Heritage West Project. Mayor Greg Fisher says there is currently around $700 million invested in the West End.
"To see this wave taking place in west Louisville is a great thing for our entire city," Mayor Fischer said.
Mayor Fischer and school leaders see the development near Roosevelt Perry as a catalyst and inspiration for Louisville's future leaders.
"They are going to see something that is a vacant lot turn into something beautiful and great," Principal Marshall said.
The West Louisville YMCA is expected to open in mid-2019.
Watch the groundbreaking ceremony below: