West end YMCA open

NEGAUNEE – The YMCA of Marquette County’s new facility in Negaunee held an open house and ribbon-cutting Monday night to welcome the county’s west end community and highlight its many amenities and diverse programs.

The facility opened a couple of weeks ago in the old Range Bank building on Iron Street in Negaunee, but offers many programs well beyond its new digs.

“I think a lot of folks don’t realize all the things that we do with financial assistance, with art, with mentoring programs, kayaking programs – things that happen outside of the building, too,” said Rachel Berglund, the Y’s west end program leader. “So this is a good chance to highlight a lot of the things that have happened and celebrate being open. It’s been a long journey.”

Berglund said the organization sent out more than 800 invitations to the open house to people from all over the community, with games and activities for kids and adults alike, including face painting and food from nearby Midtown Bakery. The facility Monday night was also the featured location of the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Chamber of Commerce’s “Business After Hours” program.

The fact that the Y has something for all age groups and can be fun for the whole family was part of its design and part of its great appeal, Berglund said.

“I think we’re a place that the whole family can come together – so we’ve got the space for kids to be, we’ve got a bouldering room downstairs for the older kids. It’s a good place not just to come and work out but to socialize and participate in lots of other classes as well,” she said.

Like the other YMCA facilities in the county, the Negaunee Y operates on an income-based sliding fee scale, offering from 10 percent to 80 percent off membership costs, applying also to the kids’ room and all of its youth and family programs.

Despite summer typically being the slowest time of year for the organization, Berglund said since it opened the Y’s Negaunee facility has been anything but.

“We have definitely not been slow, so it’s kind of fun to see everybody coming in to check it out,” she said.

Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401.