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YMCA breaks ground on City Heights facility

At groundbreaking ceremonies for the Copley-Price Family YMCA on El Cajon Boulevard are (from left to right): an unidentified YMCA member; David Copley Foundation Executive Director Dean Dwyer; Price Charities CEO Robert Price; District 9 Councilmember Marti Emerald; an unidentified YMCA member; and Interim Mayor Todd Gloria.

A future City Heights landmark is officially under construction.

The Copley-Price Family YMCA held an Oct. 8 groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the community cooperation and fundraising that are making the $34-million neighborhood center possible.

The Copley Family YMCA initially sought to expand its current facility on Landis Street, but that vision changed after Price Charities offered to donate land it acquired at the old Pearson Ford site on El Cajon Boulevard. Attention soon turned toward the viability of building San Diego County’s largest campus on 3.5 acres of land at the intersection of three communities: Talmadge, Kensington, and City Heights.

“Everyone came together to make it happen,” said Price Family Charitable Fund CEO Robert Price at the groundbreaking ceremony, adding that neighborhood groups, businesses, nonprofits, and government representatives all approved of the project.

A group calling itself the “Amigos” spearheaded the fundraising. Phil Blair, Malin Burnham, the late-Murray Galinson, Bill Geppert, Mel Katz, Jack McGrory, the late Duane Roth and Ted Roth pitched in to secure money needed for the project. Fundraising efforts continue to create a $4 million endowment to provide scholarships for community residents who cannot afford to pay dues.

When completed, the 53,000-square-foot facility will contain indoor and outdoor pools, a gymnasium, child care centers, a teen center, computer lab, three group exercise rooms, a fitness and wellness center, demonstration kitchen, outdoor soccer arena and parking garage. The new YMCA will be able to serve about twice as many people as the existing center on Landis Street.

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said the only thing he likes better than a groundbreaking is a ribbon cutting, which is scheduled for November of 2014.

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