Board members of the Northwest Florida YMCA last night voted unanimously to accept a contribution of land from the Studer Community Development Group’s new property at the site of the Pensacola News Journal.
The offer of land is in addition to the $5 million Quint and Rishy Studer had pledged to the Y during last year’s effort to secure a site at the Maritime Park for the new facility.
While the land offer had been on the table for some time, the Y could not officially accept the land donation offer until the Studer Community Development Group could close on the property. Monday’s decision was a critical step in the organization’s path toward a new facility, replacing the 60-year-old building on the corner of Palafox and Belmont Streets, according to Steve Williams, President of the YMCA Board.
The Y accepted the Studers’ offer of .9 acres on the Intendencia side of the PNJ property.
“We are so grateful for the continued generosity of Quint and Rishy Studer,” said Williams. “Their contribution last year of $5 million ranks among one of the largest single gifts to any YMCA in the country, and with this addition of a generous land offer, our dream of a new facility is one huge step closer to reality. We look forward to working with the Studers on this project and are thrilled to be a part of the great things going on in downtown Pensacola.”
According to YMCA officials, the organization has been in contact with several donors over the past several months since the City and CMPA rejected the Y’s offer to lease a parcel at the Maritime Park, and those conversations will continue as the Y undertakes a more public fundraising campaign.
“Now that we have the land secured, we are actually starting ahead of the curve,” said Williams.
“Our fundraising plan is in place, and thanks to the Studers’ generosity we will be able to do some of the initial planning and designing now while we are continuing our fundraising efforts. Being able to move now on a new facility without having to wait for that first big donation is a huge advantage for us, our members, and the people we serve in the community.”
Quint and Rishy Studer said that the Y is a perfect fit for the new property, and they are happy to support the historic organization in its quest for a new facility.
“The Y does so much good for so many people in our community – from health and wellness for all ages, to family activities and outreach to the homeless. They are a true community partner, and we’re happy to support them,” said Rishy Studer. “This has been a long and sometimes difficult process for all of us trying to build a new Y, but despite it all, it seems like we’ve got this project back on track, and it’s exciting to think of all the possibilities a new Y could bring downtown Pensacola,” she continued.
Details of the contribution and final conveyance of the land are pending a successful closing, to be scheduled sometime in February, said YMCA officials.
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