It's been 13 challenging months in the making but Monday, January 18 marks an exciting next step in the decade-plus planning for the rebirth of Marion with the opening of the new, $19.5 million YMCA.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette says the 75,000 square feet of recreation space at 3740 Irish Dr. comes with two floors of fitness equipment, basketball courts,  racquetball, and a six-lane lap pool, fitness classrooms, a 1/8-mile indoor track..and even two regulation football fields.

Bob Carlson, CEO and President of the Cedar Rapids Metro YMCA told the Gazette it's a dream come true for not only him and his staff but of the community who have been waiting and looking forward to the completion of this project following the derecho and still-ongoing pandemic.

Carlson says they are playing it by ear as to how they handle capacity with social distancing, but once clear of the pandemic, the facility will hold up to 500 patrons. In fact, Carlson says they built the fitness area with social distancing in mind.

Cedar Rapids area YMCA operations were down almost 45 percent as of November 2020, according to Carlson. It closed its Council St. Mercy Health Plaza branch and had to cancel a season of Camp Wapsi.

Carlson says plans are in the works for the YMCA and Marion Parks & Recreation to merge some of their programs so that more in the community can have access. Despite the challenges leading up to it that may continue for a few more months, he and Marion mayor Nick AbouAssaly are confident that the new facility will serve as a resource and asset to the community for many generations to come.

Hours for the new location will be Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pool hours, by reservations 24 hours in advance will be Monday-Friday, 6:15 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Learn more about their schedule, services, and programs here.

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