Business, Local Government and Politics, News

Baker brings good news to the Lynn YMCA

Jay Ash, Bruce Macdonald, CEO of the Greater Lynn YMCA, Gov. Charlie Baker and Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy during the ceremony where Macdonald received grant money for a new YMCA. (Owen O'Rourke)

LYNN — Gov. Charlie Baker returned to the YMCA on Wednesday, this time to bring $4.8 million to support infrastructure for a new $26 million facility.

“I’ve watched my kids play basketball here,” he said. “And I’m very sorry to say they lost more often than they won.”

In addition to the grant to reconfigure the road around the YMCA to make way for a 70,000-square-foot expansion, Lynn received a second $2.5 million award to support additional traffic improvements near the new Market Basket at Western Avenue and Federal Street.

The governor joined Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and the city’s Beacon Hill delegation, which included state Sen. Thomas M. McGee (D-Lynn), under sunny skies in front of the Y.

Ash, who took over emcee responsibilities from Kennedy, who has been stricken with laryngitis, said the last time he was at the Y he was tossed from a basketball game for cussing.

“We are all excited about what’s happening in Lynn,” he said. “When we think about all the positives, doing right for the future generation of Greater Lynn residents makes us all quite pleased.”

Kennedy said it’s not just good news for the Y, but for the entire city.

“I thank our great governor and Swampscott neighbor,” she said.

McGee said making the new Y a reality was a collaborative effort.

“It couldn’t have been done without so many people coming here and making it happen,” he said.

The monies are from the competitive MassWorks program which provides road and other improvements to support housing production, economic development, and job creation.

Of the 102 applications for funding this year, 40 awards were given.

Baker said MassWorks is one of the best ways the state has to provide infrastructure support to get construction underway.

The shovel-ready project includes closing Wheeler Street, the reconfiguration of the adjacent roadway network to preserve access to the neighborhood, and the relocation of utilities. Once completed, the area will be more walkable for pedestrians.

When completed, the new Y will contain an aquatics center, indoor track, gymnasium, and a new childcare facility for 390 children.

MassDevelopment, the state’s development bank, supported the project with $27.7 million in tax-exempt bonds, and a $10 million New Markets Tax Credit.

YMCA of Metro North President Bruce Macdonald singled out James Marsh, the Department of Community Development director, for the vision to reconstruct that section of city to make way for the new Y.

“Jamie saw something that I didn’t see and he deserves the credit,” he said. “We are not just building a building, but we are making a difference in the lives of kids.”

More Stories From Lynn