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First YMCA To Be Built On The Southside

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Joey Palacios
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Texas Public Radio
City of San Antonio and YMCA of Greater San Antonio staff turn ceremonial shovels to break ground outside old Mission Drive-In and Mission Branch Library

The Southside of San Antonio is getting its first YMCA built near the former Mission Drive-In Theater. Part of the funding is being paid for by the city’s voter-approved bond.

 

 

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Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio

A native blessing is being performed as backhoes and bulldozers dig up the lot that families used to park their cars in to watch movies at the Mission Drive-in. This site will be a YMCA in a part of town in need of more wellness opportunities. “The Southside deserves just as many of the great amenities as any other part of that and this is showcasing that,” said District Three Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran.

 

She welcomes this addition to a part of town that can often seem economically disadvantaged. “It’s going to help meet a need for providing more opportunities for family-friendly, nutrition, working out programming, all here in this phenomenal space.”

 

A recent report by San Antonio Metro Health shows life expectancy in this area can be 5 to 10 years shorter than in other parts of the city like the North Side.

 

Some families may face financial challenges when attempting to sign up for gyms or health programs. 

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Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
District Three Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran

YMCA San Antonio President Sandy Morander says there are options for residents who have lower incomes. “Like our eastside YMCA, over 85 percent of the participants there are on some form of financial assistance. So we have a sliding fee scale, we make it work for household incomes, we make it work so that no one is turned away due to inability to pay. That is our priority.”

 

The $5 million cost for this facility is being funded half by the YMCA and half by the city of San Antonio’s bond program which voters approved in 2012. It will be named after local philanthropist Harvey Najim. Construction is expected to be complete by Spring 2017.