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A popular new landmark

YMCA

The wait is finally over.

The new Copley-Price Family YMCA opened its doors in January, attracting thousands of curious residents from City Heights, Kensington and Talmadge who came to tour the new facility and sign up for memberships.

“We did not expect to be this busy,” said marketing director Bobby Klein as throngs of children and adults wandered around at the grand opening celebration on Jan. 24. “When you build a new facility like this, you just don’t know how the community is going to react. The community is really coming out, and we’re bursting at the seams.”

Unlike the old Copley Family YMCA near Landis Street, the new digs at the corner of Fairmount Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard has plenty of room for all those new members. The $34-million, 53,000-square-foot facility is almost twice the size of the old one, and it can comfortably fit more than three times as many people for swim lessons, basketball games, weightlifting, cycling classes and more.

The new center has a number of new features designed to meet the needs of local residents.

“We wanted to make sure we were building this for everybody,” Klein said.

For many families with kids, one of the most exciting features is the large “child watch” area, where parents or grandparents can leave children for up to two hours of free supervised care while they exercise. The child watch area in the new Y is more than three times larger than what was available at the old Y.

A new demonstration kitchen will be used for cooking classes to help families learn how to prepare fresh, healthy meals. A spacious teen center gives local students a place to hang out, play games and use computers after school. A community room and a conference room will provide space for groups to host special programs. An indoor soccer arena is still under construction but will be complete later this year.

The new Y also includes two swimming pools, a state-of-the-art fitness center and an expansive gym that measures more than 9,000 square feet.

Reviews are positive.

“Definitely would recommend to people who want a local work out spot for cheap!” wrote one commenter on the social networking site Yelp.

“This brand new complex is the answer to our newlywed broke-but-need-to-stay-fit prayers!” wrote another.

The staff has also grown to include employees who speak multiple languages. Currently, the YMCA has staff who can speak English, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Farsi and French. They are looking to hire more employees who can speak additional languages, including Somali and Arabic, Klein said.

Memberships are available to everyone. After a one-time joining fee of $50, household membership for one adult with children is $50 a month. Two adults with children will pay $61. Single adults pay $40 a month, and senior citizens pay $28 a month.

But no one will be turned away because of the cost. Financial assistance and reduced rates are available for low-income families and individuals. They just have to fill out a simple form and provide proof of income, said Andrew Holets, director of community outreach and development.

“YMCA is completely committed to never turning away someone due to the inability to pay,” Holets said.

The Y is still looking for volunteers to serve as youth sports coaches, after-school homework tutors, interns and board members.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s Park and Recreation Department is exploring the possibility of turning the old site of the Copley Family YMCA into a public recreation center with an emphasis on therapeutic and senior services.

For more information about membership and programs at the Copley-Price YMCA, visit copleyprice.ymca.org or call (619) 280-9622.

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