LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – It has been a long road to recovery for The Lake Charles YMCA, but the organization has plans to re-open its building to the public this winter.
Executive Director Jennifer Hebert has had to do most of her work for the YMCA inside a trailer next to the YMCA building. However, in a matter of months she'll actually be able to do work inside the YMCA, and the public will soon enjoy a better version of what existed before.
Hebert stated, "I just literally get begged by people, please bring this Y[MCA] back, and that's what we're working on."
The YMCA has been closed since Hurricane Rita destroyed it nearly five years ago, but this coming winter the doors will re-open.
The board recently approved a contractor's bid to begin the first of a possible five phase restoration project. Their goal is to complete Phase I for under $1 million dollars.
"It's a very doable goal and we are moving to our next step which is to begin the work," said Hebert. "The plans are extravagant. They're wonderful."
In Phase I, the YMCA will expand their fitness center. In addition, there will be an aerobic center and a kid's gym. The YMCA will also update the locker rooms, and has plans to add a sports complex behind the building.
Hebert stated, "If we get this Phase I done, we can serve the public a lot quicker."
The city engineer has already surveyed the YMCA and the contractor has begun testing the electricity. Hebert says they hope to begin major renovations within the month of July.
For years, the YMCA stood as a place that welcomed members of all ages in this community, and now the YMCA is in need of the community's help to bring it back to life.
"The Y[MCA] belongs to the community, not to me, not the board, so it's important if you want your Y[MCA] back to get involved."
The YMCA is always looking for volunteers, or you can make a donation. To get involved call Jennifer Hebert at 912-5897.