Rahway Branch Renovation Blends Arts and Wellness

$3.2 million project anchors city’s downtown revitalization, Y’s commitment to community service.

Rahway, NJ, March 09, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Following the example of their 19th-century British founders, the present-day leaders of The Gateway Family YMCA are intent on proving it’s as important to exercise the imagination as well as the body.

When completed this summer, the $3.2 million, 16,256-square foot renovation at the Rahway Branch on Irving Street in downtown Rahway will include 2 rooms for teaching classes in visual and performing arts and 5 rentable loft spaces for artists — both amateur and professional — to create and display artwork.

“The YMCA has made a full commitment to integrating the arts into our traditional wellness programming,” stated John Ludington, The Gateway Family YMCA Board President, “This renovation allows us to initiate a specialized arts program for youth and adults.”

Arts programs have been shown to be highly effective in assisting people with autism, Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit disorders. The new YMCA arts programs will be open to ages 7 and up and can accommodate 25-50 people at a time, with as many as 200 participants expected to enroll throughout the year.

The total renovation brings significant upgrades for other parts of the facility: new family locker rooms, group exercise studios, additional program space with new cardiovascular and strength training equipment, complete renovation of existing wellness/fitness areas, locker rooms, a new lobby, welcome center, front entrance and elevator.

“It’s the culmination of our long-term plan to meet the expanding health and wellness needs of the growing Rahway community and surrounding towns our branch serves,” stated The Gateway Family YMCA Chief Executive Officer Krystal R. Canady.

The Rahway arts loft project comes in the wake of The Gateway Family YMCA’s $8 million Elizabeth Branch renovation completed in June, 2013, underscoring the organization’s active role in anchoring civic renewal efforts across the state.

“From its beginnings at the height of the Industrial Revolution, the YMCA has been a prime partner in helping cities improve the health of their residents,” added Gerry Gessie, The Gateway Family YMCA Rahway Branch Executive.

Since its inception in 1844 by a handful of community-minded volunteers, the YMCA has impacted tens of millions of lives worldwide. The Rahway Branch renovation and arts-wellness collaboration keeps that founding spirit at the core of today’s YMCA.

The Gateway Family YMCA, formerly The YMCA of Eastern Union County, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization of caring staff and volunteers dedicated to strengthening the foundations of community and stands For Youth Development, For Healthy Living and For Social Responsibility. The Gateway Family YMCA impacts the community by providing quality services to people of all ages, races, faith or incomes. The Y doesn’t just strengthen bodies – it strengthens people, families and communities.

For more information about community programs and services provided by The Gateway Family YMCA – Rahway Branch, please visit www.tgfymca.org or contact the Rahway Branch at Rahwayinfo@tgfymca.org or 732.388.0057.
The Gateway Family YMCA
Colleen Clayton