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Community Celebrates Opening of Linwood YMCA/James B. Nutter, Sr. Community Center

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
February 27, 2017
Linwood Ribbon Cutting Celebration

Thanks to all who joined us to celebrate the opening of the renovated and expanded Linwood YMCA/James B. Nutter, Sr. Community Center.


An estimated 1,000 people gathered in the gym for the ribbon cutting on Monday, February 20, 2017. The crowd included members, volunteers, friends and neighbors--unified by their commitment to the Y and their excited about the positive impact the new facility will have. 


The event kicked off with an energetic performance from the dancers and drummers of the Marching Cobras drill team. 


Speakers included Stephenie Smith, executive director of the Linwood YMCA; Dominga Levin, chair of the Linwood YMCA Community Mission Board; David Byrd, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City; Chris Kurtz, chief volunteer officer of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City; Councilman Jermaine Reed, Third District; Councilman Quinton Lucas, Third District At-Large; and Mayor Sly James.


As part of his remarks, Mayor Sly James noted the event had brought together people of all different backgrounds and walks of life. He said the celebration was about more than the end of a construction phase of a pool or gym. 


“This is what happens when people put differences aside and come together with a collateral purpose and a good heart to accomplish something for the good of everybody,” he said to the crowd.


The event was the culmination of several years of planning, fundraising and construction. 


“I'm grateful for all who made this possible and most importantly, how it will allow us to offer more programs to improve the well-being of so many youth, individuals, families and seniors in Kansas City,” said David Byrd following the event. “This is just the beginning. We look forward to continuing the excitement this year when Truman Medical Center breaks ground on an adjoining medical clinic.”


The new facility pays tribute to the history of the Linwood YMCA in many ways. 


Following the ribbon cutting celebration, the Y honored Harold Mezile by unveiling his portrait at the top of the walls of the gym alongside other well-known leaders in the history of the Linwood YMCA.


Mezile was the first executive director of the Linwood YMCA when the building opened in 1975. He worked in the 1960s and 70s to raise funds to open the original building at Linwood and Cleveland and was known for his dedication to youth programs, a tradition that continues at the Linwood YMCA today. Mezile went on to a successful career at YMCAs across the country, and retired in 2013 after being the president and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis/Twin Cities YMCA.


The history of the Linwood YMCA and its connection to the historic Paseo YMCA in the 18th and Vine district is also featured in two history walls in the new lobby of the facility.


The Y raised $10.5 million to fund construction. The updated and expanded facility is named the Linwood YMCA/James B. Nutter, Sr., Community Center, in honor of a major donor. 


Other major donors include Hall Family Foundation; The Kirk Foundation Trust; AltCap; Mabee Foundation, Inc.; Ina Calkins Trust Fund, Bank of America, trustee; JE Dunn Construction Company; Louetta M. Cowden Foundation, U.S. Trust, Trustee; The William T. Kemper Foundation; Kansas City Power & Light; The Sunderland Foundation; Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation; Lockton Companies; Polsinelli PC; and Victor E. Speas Foundation, Bank of America, Trustee. 


The project also received support from the City of Kansas City, Mo.


Banking partners are Bank Midwest and US Bank.


Construction partners for the project are JE Dunn; HOK Architects; Henderson Engineers, Inc.; Waters Edge Aquatic Design; Intertek PSI; Taliaferro & Browne, Inc.; Anderson Survey; Leigh & O'Kane; FSC, Inc.; and Studio Eight Consultants.


During 18 months of construction, the Linwood Y partnered with the Kansas City Public Schools to operate out of Central Academy of Excellence. 


The new facility will allow the Y to serve more people through important programs, such as swim lessons, after-school homework help and mentoring, health screenings, nutrition classes, wellness and fitness programs, community events, and other activities for people of all ages to improve quality of life. The previous Linwood YMCA facility had become outdated, did not provide enough space for program participants, and included an outdoor pool needing repairs. 


The renovated building features: 

  • An indoor pool in place of the existing outdoor pool to provide life-saving swim lessons and recreational opportunities year round.
  • An expanded health and wellness center in which people can improve their health through cardiovascular exercise and strength training. 
  • A community room for all ages to connect through shared interests at meetings, faith-based group gatherings, celebrations of family and friends, and more. 
  • A teaching kitchen for healthy eating, nutrition and cooking classes. 
  • A renovated gym in which the community can gather for special events and healthy living activities such as youth and adult sports.
  • Multi-purpose studios for group exercise, dance, music, arts, and other social and educational activities.
  • A Kids Zone to provide a safe and fun place for kids to learn and play.


Photos from the event are available online Click here to view event photos.


Contact the Linwood YMCA/James B. Nutter, Sr. Community Center at 816.923.5675 or visit