Meeting tonight for new southeast YMCA

CASCADE TWP., Mich. (WZZM) - More steps will be taken Monday toward the approval of a new YMCA in Cascade Township. If approved, it will be the first of its kind in greater Grand Rapids, but there are some concerns the Township wants addressed first.

The roadblock now is concern over traffic congestion and safety. Before the final stamp of approval is given for the YMCA to begin building, a traffic plan has to be approved.

This is the same issue the YMCA ran into last summer; causing plans for a Grand Rapids Township location to be rejected. Now, the location under scrutiny is at the intersection of Kraft and Burton. The YMCA has obtained two signed purchase agreements for 36 acres of property at this location.

Tonight, YMCA officials will present a plan to the Township's Planning Commission. Based on a traffic study conducted by the YMCA, they will recommend adding two traffic lights nearby the planned location.

President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids Ron Nelson is eager to get construction going, describing the building's plans as a "universal design" which would offer more options to the disabled. "When you come into the facility, you'll experience more than twice as many barrier-free spaces than you would be required to have. Those things will be adjacent to things like a hard-surfaced softball field where people will be able to play wheelchair softball." Nelson hopes to have the final approval by July.

The meeting is Monday evening at 2685 Thornhills Ave. All are welcome to attend and join the discussion.


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