The Y Looks to Transition for the Future in Eastern Jackson County
Based on the changing community and as part of a larger strategic plan to align programs and services with community needs, the YMCA of Greater Kansas City has been evaluating the best way to serve eastern Jackson County.
As a result, the Y determined that a new location in eastern Jackson County is needed to support its vision and deliver new services and collaborations.
While the Y identifies opportunities for a new presence in eastern Jackson County, the Blue Springs Family YMCA building will be acquired by the Blue Springs R-IV School district. The YMCA will close the Blue Springs facility on October 30, 2019.
Important Y programs, including youth sports and senior activities, will continue in eastern Jackson County while the Y explores opportunities for new Y facilities to deliver today’s Y offerings to better serve the community.
“As the Y continues to evaluate the best way to serve eastern Jackson County for the future, we understand the school district’s need to provide important programs,” said John Mikos, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. “Although we envisioned a future transition, the timing of this was necessary to fulfill the goals of the Y and the school district.”
Earlier this year, the Y learned the school district had interest in the Blue Springs YMCA facility to maintain continuity for the Blue Springs South swim and dive teams, which have used the facility for practices and meets since it opened. Based on the Y’s future vision and longtime relationship with the district, the Y agreed to transition the facility to the district.
The Y facility, which opened in 1999 and is located on property owned by the school district, provides the best solution to support the future of the Blue Springs School District and ongoing programming needs.
Blue Springs South High School will continue to use the facility for practices and meets for the girls and boys swim and dive teams. The school also will use the building for physical education classes and after school athletic programming. In addition, building space will house the school’s child development courses including the student-run preschool through the Childcare and Guidance courses.
“The acquisition allows for a seamless transition of the swimming facility to ensure consistency of schedules and programming,” said Mark Bubalo, Blue Springs School District activities director. “The building space will also allow us to schedule practice times for smaller groups, like the Blue Springs South High School dance team, as well as increase our space for PE course offerings and weight room space for athletics.”
As the Y looks toward the future, the nonprofit organization will build on recent success in other communities.
“We’re looking at ways to implement a strategy in eastern Jackson County that includes collaborating with health care organizations and others to bring new services on site,” Mikos said. “This is a trend locally and nationally, and it has already been successful for other Ys.”
The Y has seen success with hospital partners offering care and education on site at the Linwood YMCA/James B. Nutter, Sr. Community Center, North Kansas City YMCA and Atchison Family YMCA/Cray Community Center. A medical partner also is planned as part of the Downtown YMCA/Kirk Family Community Center. In addition, the Y has had success working with local governments to build and operate community centers, including the City of North Kansas City and two centers in Platte County.
As part of efforts to explore options in eastern Jackson County, the Y has entered into a formal agreement with the City of Grain Valley to study the feasibility of opening a new community center in partnership with the Y. Surveys to residents of Grain Valley, Blue Springs and surrounding communities will begin October 1.
“The Y is much more than a building,” Mikos said. “It’s a community of supporters, volunteers and associates, which allows us to continue our impact through programs while we explore the best way to serve eastern Jackson County into the future.”
Information regarding the membership and program transitions are available at KansasCityYMCA.org/BlueSprings.