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Celebration Marks Opening of New Atchison YMCA/Cray Community Center

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
December 7, 2017
Atchison Ribbon Cutting

A dream became reality for Atchison as the new Atchison YMCA/Cray Community Center opened on December 6, 2017. 

About five hundred people gathered at the Y for the ribbon cutting program and lunch. The crowd filled the new gym and lined the railing of the new walking track on the second floor that overlooks the gym.

The program recognized donors and volunteers, and honored the legacy of the Y in Atchison.


“I know we say this a lot...but this is truly a great day in the history of Atchison,” said Rick Berger to the crowd. Berger is chair of the Atchison Capital Campaign Cabinet, a major donor of the project and a member of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City Board of Directors. 

The Y has been an important part of the Atchison community since 1872. The new center, built after raising $11.3 million in funds from the community, is the most significant construction and renovation project since the Y opened its original building in 1913. 

An expansion to the east of the original building included a pool that opened in 1982. For the latest renovation and expansion, the Y renovated the 1982 pool and acquired property on the rest of the block to the east. The new Y will be able to serve double the number of people served previously.

Chris Kurtz, Chief Volunteer Officer, said in his remarks that Atchison has become an example for other Ys to follow.

“As we look at what we can do in other parts of the greater Kansas City area, Atchison is a shining star about how to do it right,” he said.

"The Y is a symbol of hope and possibility for future generations," said David Byrd, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City.

“We’re about to open one of the greatest Christmas gifts this community has seen in a long time,” Byrd told the crowd.

The facility is named for major donors Bud Cray and his family, which includes his daughter Karen Seaberg, who spoke during the program.

“The reason it’s a great day is because every person in Atchison no matter what their financial situation has the opportunity to come be healthy here..and I’m glad I could be a small part of that,” Seaberg said.


Kansas Governor Sam Brownback addressed the crowd, highlighting how the new Atchison Y is the result of a community coming together around a common vision. 

“You can’t have a community without a Y, and you are better for having this facility,” he said.

Mayor Allen Reavis said the new Y is a sign that “Atchison is back.” 

“I can feel the momentum, the pride and the satisfaction of everyone here,” he said. “This is another example of when the community comes together we can accomplish great things.”

The new Y also includes a partnership with Atchison Hospital. In the new warm-water therapy pool, Atchison Hospital will provide aquatic physical therapy for patients, which previously has been unavailable in Atchison, said John Jacobson, president and CEO of the hospital.

“The new therapy pool represents exciting opportunities for both the Y and the hospital in terms of better serving our patients and helping to create a healthier community,” Jacobson said.


Rick Berger and Executive Director Lorin Affield recognized the two honorary campaign chairs of the project, Cloud L. “Bud” Cray, Jr., and Dub Ehret. Busts of each of them will be permanently displayed in the new center.

“Both share a longtime commitment to the Y. Bud as a donor and volunteer, and Dub as former executive director of this Y who has continued to lend his support since his retirement,” Affield said.


Top donors include: 

  • Courtney S. Turner Charitable Trust, John H. Mize Jr. and Tony Twyman, representing Bank of America, N.A., Trustees
  • Cloud L. Cray Jr. and Sara J. Cray Foundation
  • Mabee Foundation Inc.
  • MGP Ingredients, Inc.
  • Atchison Hospital
  • Guy I. Bromley Charitable Trust
  • Ladd and Karen Seaberg
  • Berger Family
  • Cloud L. Cray Foundation
  • Adair/Exchange Bank Foundation 
  • Evah C. Cray Residuary Charitable Trust
  • Jim and Zibbie Ferrell
  • Blish-Mize Co.
  • City of Atchison
  • Atchison County
  • Atchison County
  • Bank of Atchison
  • Muchnic Foundation, Inc.
  • Union Pacific Foundation
  • Larry and Tresa Buessing


Construction partners are J.E. Dunn, HOK, Henderson Engineers Inc., Waters Edge Aquatic Design, PSI, Taliaferro & Brown Inc., Anderson Survey, Marlatt Construction Co. Inc., Leigh & O’Kane, and MC Realty Group.

Financing partners are Enterprise Bank, Enterprise Financial CDE, SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Community Capital, Exchange Bank and Columbia Capital Management.