ZBA Approves YMCA Expansion


BY: Andrew Wroblewski

After more than a year of planning and a few speed bumps in the approval process, the Huntington YMCA is prepared to move forward with plans to construct a new building and add additional parking spaces on its current property.

The Huntington YMCA had its plans for expansion approved by the Huntington zoning board on Jan. 29.
The Huntington YMCA had its plans for expansion approved by the Huntington zoning board on Jan. 29.

“We’ve worked really hard to meet any obstacles that we thought might come up in the process,” Eileen Knauer, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the YMCA of Long Island, said. “We have a great team of board members and volunteers that are experienced in that process and it went well; now we’ll continue to move forward.”

The plans, which were approved by the Huntington Zoning Board on Jan. 29, include a 28,381-square-foot health center, 147 additional parking spaces and a potential 9,976 square-foot office building that may house the YMCA of Long Island’s association offices, should the entity choose to move back to Huntington after leaving the town more than 10 years ago. If that move doesn’t happen, then that office space will most likely not be included in the construction.

“Huntington is such a great location, along with the town and village, it’s a hub,” Knauer said. “They outgrew the space here and the timing was really right [for them to move], but now, for the same reason they left Huntington, they’re looking at this remodeling to come back.”

The YMCA at Glen Cove currently houses the association offices, which consist of about 12 employees and are the site of board meetings, staff training and more for the YMCA of Long Island. When the association offices left Huntington, Knauer said, it was because Glen Cove expanded its complex in the same way that Huntington is now set to do. Knauer said a decision will be made regarding the potential move within the next two or three months.

All that stands in the way now is funding.

“Just like our last capital project, we have to reach out to the community for fundraising,” Knauer said. “It’s a very exciting time; we get to meet a lot of people.”

The proposed health center – to be built where the current outdoor basketball courts reside – will be used as a replacement for the Huntington YMCA’s current use of the Village Green Elementary School’s gymnasium. With programs and total attendance expanding – the Huntington YMCA serves more than 16,000 people in the community – the need for a new building became apparent, Knauer said.

A new parking lot is also included in the plans and will be constructed on the southeast portion of the property, which now holds an open field – typically used for soccer.

To avoid interrupting the summer camp season, during which the YMCA’s usage is at its highest, Knauer said, construction might start in the fall of 2016. This will also provide time for a traffic study to be conducted during the summer camp season to improve the pickup and drop-off process for parents and their children.

“This is always an ongoing process, and it’s in the Y’s best interest to have a plan that works both for the Y and for the town,” John Breslin, the attorney representing the YMCA, said at the zoning board meeting.

Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills
(Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015;  A7)


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