Ribbon Cutting Celebration Marks Opening of Kirk Family YMCA
The Y celebrated a new chapter in history with the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Kirk Family YMCA on Thursday, October 14, 2021. The event marked the return of a full-service YMCA to downtown Kansas City for the first time since 1981.
The community gathered on the front steps of the building at 222 W. 11th Street in Downtown Kansas City, Mo., for a short program emceed by Lara Moritz from KMBC 9 News. Dr. Emanuel Cleaver III, Senior Pastor of St. James United Methodist Church, offered a devotion. In addition, the program included remarks from President and CEO John Mikos, Chief Volunteer Officer John Passanisi, longtime Y supporter and volunteer Frank Kirk, and Mayor Quinton Lucas.
“The process to bring a Y to downtown Kansas City began 10 years ago. We have looked forward to this moment for many years, and I’m proud to be here to celebrate it with all of you,” said John Mikos, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City.
The increasing number of individuals and families who live or work downtown will be able to come to the Y for:
- Evidence-based programs to prevent and manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer and heart disease
- Swim lessons to help eliminate drowning in our community
- Youth programs to educate and build confidence from sports to volunteer activities and leadership development opportunities for teens
- Family programs for quality time and opportunities to make connections
- Volunteer opportunities to give back and make our downtown community stronger
- Healthy living activities, from nutrition and cooking classes to exercise
- Community space for meetings, social gathering and celebrations
The Kirk Family Legacy
The Y is named for the Kirk family, longtime YMCA of Greater Kansas City donors and supporters of the new downtown Y. The family includes the late Phil Kirk, the former chairman of DST Realty, which is now part of SS&C Technologies. He played a key role in Kansas City’s downtown revitalization and was instrumental in bringing the new Y to the former Lyric Theatre to complete plans to revitalize the west side of downtown.
Phil’s brother Frank Kirk, a longtime Board member of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, has provided leadership and championed the downtown YMCA project over many years. He spoke on behalf of the family.
“Dad always said, put back more into the community than you take out. And we still believe that,” he said.
He thanked donors and Y leaders for bringing the project to fruition.
“Dad, mom and Phil, who are all smiling down today, and from the Kirk family - thank you,” Frank said.
New Opportunities for Youth
In his remarks, Mayor Quinton Lucas recalled 25 years ago in the summer when he would go with his mom downtown. While she was at work in an office building, he would walk around and see everything from small retail stores to surface parking lots. But nothing for youth.
Lucas said it was vital to invest in downtown “being a true neighborhood, an atmosphere that was welcoming to all, and perhaps an atmosphere where a 12-year-old instead of walking by surface lots and wig stores could go inside an exciting and dynamic community center,” Lucas said.
The new Y addresses the need to provide positive activities for youth downtown.
“I am so excited that we have young people here who can come to dream each and every day,” Lucas said.
The opening of the Kirk Family YMCA is a highlight of the past 18 months for the Mayor.
“There are tough days in this job. Over the last 18 months, more tough ones than happy ones. But this is one of the happiest ones that I’ve had, because I know the impact that this YMCA will have on so many for years to come,” Mayor Lucas said.
Thank you to the following individuals and businesses that made significant contributions to make the Kirk Family YMCA possible.
- Sunderland Foundation
- Tom and Jean McDonnell
- The Illig Family Foundation
- William T. Kemper Foundation
- The Kirk Foundation Trust
- SS&C Technologies
- Ann and Gary Dickinson Family Charitable Foundation
- Kansas City Southern
- Mabee Foundation
- Victor E. Speas Foundation
- JE Dunn Construction Company
- Jim and Annabel Nutter Family
- Sherman Family Foundation
- Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation
- The Hearst Foundations
- Frank and Nancy Kirk
- Midland Properties
- Barnett and Shirley Helzberg
- Mark One/Privitera Family
- Tom and Jill McGee
- Alan and Mary Atterbury
- Stinson LLP
- Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation
- Natalie Kirk and JC Welch
- Allen and Libby Blair
- Charles and Judy Kahn
- Ron and Nancy Jones
Special thanks to our financing partners:
- The Missouri Development Finance Board
- The 11th Street Corridor Tax Increment Financing District
Design and Construction | BNIM Architects, JE Dunn Construction, Structural Engineering Associates, Henderson Engineers, Antella, Taliaferro & Browne, New Horizons, Land3 Studio, Larkin and FSC
Development | Broadway Square Partners, Downtown Council and MC Realty
Financing | Country Club Bank, Industrial Development Authority of the City of Kansas City Missouri, Missouri Health and Educational Facilities Authority, Lathrop GPM, Columbia Capital Management LLC, Gilmore & Bell
Photos and More