The held their grand reopening of their residence halls on Friday to much fanfare. The ribbon cutting ceremony, preceded by a brunch and YMCA organizational meeting, marked the end of work and fundraising that started in 2010.
“I think it’s beautiful,” state representative George Ross said. “I’ve never been up here, but just from what people have told me, it was a real mess. But now it’s just beautiful, updated, modern and it’s a great place for these guys to live.”
The 14 low-income residences were completely renovated for the project, which started work in the summer. Residents were put up in local apartments during the renovation.
The renovation is the first to take place in the building in over 60 years, and is the first renovation of the facility’s residence rooms.
“On behalf of Mayor Dumas, I’m very proud to be here today as we celebrate together the renovation of these 14 units,” director of budget and administration Barry K. LaCasse said. “This means that the Attleboro YMCA can continue to offer safe, affordable and comfortable place for 14 of citizens here in Attleboro.”
The renovation was funded through the Attleboro YMCA Endowment Fun and the Attleboro Taunton Home Funds Consortium. Taunton Mayor Thomas Hoye said that the Attleboro Taunton Home Funds Consortium, a joint effort between the two towns, was essential in getting the funding for the project.
“Housing needs truly have no boundaries, so it’s great that we’re working in partnership,” he said. “Often times when you’re out and about in the community and listening to the talk shows, people say you have to run a community like a business, and to a point that’s true… but we’re really in the business of providing a service, and that’s what I think is a great example of here today.”
The building itself is over a century old, and had many problems in the residence hall. There were leaks, stuck windows and heating problems, which, as YMCA chief executive Robin McDonald pointed out, can combine in the summer time to create an uncomfortable situation on the top floor of a building.
“They never complained,” McDonald said. “I never once heard one of these gentlemen say ‘this is not good Robin, we need you to do something,’ they just smiled and said ‘whatever you can do.’ Today we should all be very proud of being able to show them our appreciation for their support and continued patience with us.”
One resident of the new rooms spoke during the ceremony and told the story how he came to live at the Y and how it affected his life. Resident Bob Warhurst, a former Providence teacher, said that when he was in trouble, the Y gave him a chance to reform his life.
“I became a resident of the Attleboro YMCA in 1997,” he said. “A year later I became an active member of the YMCA, and that’s been a very very important part of my life.”
Renovations in buildings as old as the YMCA can be problematic, since buildings codes were not the same as they are now, but the Y completely renovated the individual rooms, kitchen and bathrooms.
“It’s awesome,” state representative Jay Barrows said. “To see the 14 units up here and the effort that was put forth in a 103 year-old building is amazing, and it’s just a small investment to keep these people housed and safe.”