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Wilmington’s YMCA Receives $2 Million Gift For Renovation Project

By Vince Winkel, posted Dec 5, 2016
The Wilmington Family YMCA, which is nearing the end of a capital campaign almost two years after a fire destroyed portions of the Market Street facility, has announced a substantial donation.
 
The $2 million gift is from Oaz Nir, the son of longtime YMCA Healthy Living Director Dalia Nir.
 
The goal of the Y’s capital campaign is $9 million.
 
“I am happy to help a cause which will have a great impact on such a large group of people – a cause which is so dearly important to my family,” said Oaz Nir in a news release.
 
Once the renovation is complete, the facility at 2710 Market St. will be renamed Nir Family YMCA.
 
“I am pleased to be able to support the great work of the Y in the Wilmington community,” Oaz Nir added. “The Y touches so many people each and every day. I hope that others will join me in bringing this campaign to a successful conclusion so we can move forward rebuilding this new Y on Market Street.”
 
The YMCA is working with Wilmington-based Bowman Murray Hemingway Architects and Thomas Construction Group to finalize plans for a $9 million renovation to the facility at 2710 Market St. Once complete, the new facility will feature state-of-the-art spaces and program areas to support the Y’s work, officials said.
 
“We want to break ground in early 2017,” said the YMCA’s Capital Campaign Chairman Cecil Worsley in the release. “We intend to get the Nir Family Y open as soon as possible and we encourage others to join the campaign now and make their pledge.”
 
“We are 75 percent to our goal,” YMCA CEO Dick Jones said Monday. “We’re at about $6.7 million.”
 
Jones said the campaign will continue into 2017, when it focuses more on the community for support.
 
“Everything is tracking for groundbreaking at the end of March 2017,” Jones said. “We still have a lot of work to do.” 
 
The YMCA has had a presence in the area since 1891, when the Y operated in a three-story brick building with rooms for visitors, an auditorium and swimming pool on the corner of Front and Grace streets.
 
In 1972, the current Y facility at 2710 Market St. was built, and additions and improvements came during the following years, according to New Hanover County property tax records.

These days, the Wilmington Family YMCA serves more than 8,000 people each year, including 2,000 children under the age of 18, according to an announcement earlier this year about the organization’s new beginnings after the fire. The Feb. 7, 2015 fire, which was ruled accidental by investigators, started in the sauna room and quickly spread through the building.

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