The dream of building an Armed Services YMCA facility in the Killeen area is nearing reality.
Executive Director Tony Mino announced Thursday evening that the proposed $9.3 million facility to be built near Purser Park got a big boost with a $1 million challenge grant from the J.E. & L.E. Mabee Foundation.
Killeen resident Diane Connell and a local business couple, Chuck and Cindy Davis, immediately jumped on board donating $100,000 each.
“I was lucky to have a wonderful upbringing,” Connell said. “I was in an Air Force family and we have things available to us through the Y. I think it’s so important for young people to get a start in the right direction from the beginning and the Y does that. They teach values in a good, safe environment.”
The new facility will serve more than 15,000 people from throughout Central Texas and fill a major gap in services for numerous families, with the primary mission being to serve the needs of military families and their children, Mino said.
“We wanted to contribute because we don’t have anything like this in our community. It’s going to serve our military community and our children,” Cindy Davis said. “I have been working with the Y for 16 years. This was very much needed and I knew it was worth it.”
Larry Linder, Armed Services YMCA board of managers chairman, said building this facility has “been a dream.”
“We’re very excited,” he said. “This kicks off our community campaign to finish off the remaining portion of fundraising.”
Linder said the board will solicit donations from local companies and individuals.
The 45,000-square-foot facility will be open to everyone.
“For a campaign of this scope, lead gifts at this level are critical for success,” Mino said. He said $6.4 million, or 66 percent, of the funds for the new facility have been raised.
The ASYMCA will break ground once 80 percent of the funds are raised. Mino said he expects construction to begin in about a year.