YMCA of Metro North is pleased to announce its new Lynn YMCA on Neptune Boulevard is scheduled to open in Spring 2021 and will receive a new name for the 70,000 sq. ft. downtown facility. In recognition of the Demakes Family’s legacy of giving back and lifetime of philanthropy, the YMCA of Metro North will name the new facility the Demakes Family YMCA.
The Demakes Family spearheaded the capital campaign for the new building raising more than $12 million in capital donations from dozens of contributors. The YMCA secured new market tax credits and other financial instruments that made the completion of the $25 million project possible.
The Demakes Family is deeply rooted in Lynn and has a long history of ties to the YMCA. Tom Demakes, CEO of Old Neighborhood Foods, grew up in Lynn on Franklin Street only 1,000 yards from the old YMCA building on Market Street where he was a member. When he returned from Vietman in 1967, he remembers the current facility was built and is now excited to see the next generation of families in Lynn benefit from a new, state-of-the-art facility.
“We looked at the idea of building the new YMCA in another location, but ultimately we decided that we wanted it and needed it to be right where it is. This new building is going to be something special and will be a feather in the cap of our city,” said Tom Demakes. “People who see the construction happening have no idea how incredible this building will be. Once they see it and use it, they are going to be thrilled and so proud to have one of the most advanced YMCAs in the Commonwealth, and probably the country, right on their back doorstep.”
The Demakes Family has dedicated much of their philanthropic portfolio to enhancing outcomes for children in Lynn with support for early childhood education and after school programs that give youth and teens safe and supportive spaces to learn and grow. The new Lynn YMCA will continue to partner with other organizations in the Lynn Education District area to enhance its programs and services for children and families.
“Our family has a particular focus on supporting programs that enhance good outcomes for our children. That said, the YMCA is impressive in the way they reach every age group and give seniors, adults, and kids a place to go where they can gather with others and feel part of their community,” said Tom Demakes. “The YMCA is a strong organization. They have a sound business model and financial plan which gives us confidence that the organization is well-positioned to make a long-term impact on children and families.”
“Our family has been an advocate of the Lynn YMCA since we were little kids. It has always represented the core values that help form young children,” said Andrew Demakes who is a Board Member of the YMCA of Metro North. “Being involved as an adult has only further confirmed how much of a positive impact the YMCA has on local kids in the Lynn area. We feel very fortunate to be associated with such a great organization, and hope that this new facility can be used and enjoyed by all people who live in this community.”
In addition to its aquatics center, gymnasium, and fitness areas, amenities at the new Lynn YMCA will include a healthy kitchen and café, a wellness and health screening center, a technology center, and four new preschool classrooms for its Y Academy education and child care center. The existing building will be renovated into a dedicated youth and teen center creating a YMCA “campus” on Neptune Boulevard for people of all ages to enjoy.
“This opening could not come at a better time. This past year the pandemic has exacerbated the inequities in our cities: food insecurity, a digital divide, economic instability, and poor health outcomes. This new YMCA will be a full-service community center and a key player in creating solutions that enhance educational, employment, and wellness opportunities as we recover from the pandemic and look to a better future.” said Kathleen Walsh, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metro North. “I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the Demakes Family, our donors, and the City of Lynn. This YMCA will be transformational and we would never have done this without the encouragement of all our supporters along the way.”
The Lynn YMCA has secured partnerships with other organizations like Lynn Community Health Center to operate its health clinic and Lynn Vocational Technical School and Northeast ARC who will staff its healthy café and technology center through their Cooperative Education program.
“We’re creating 200 new jobs that will contribute to the economic revitalization of the city. We project to see 25,000 visitors each year making the Y a downtown destination and anchor for other area shops, restaurants, and service providers,” said Andrea Baez, Senior Branch Executive of the Lynn YMCA. “We’ll also be expanding our Y Academy early education and out-of-school time programs for youth and teens to serve hundreds of additional children and families. This will include an expanded food and nutrition program and more scholarships and financial assistance so more people can access YMCA services.”
The Lynn YMCA is currently recruiting for key operations and health director positions and anticipates ramping up its hiring process for fitness center, aquatics program, and child care staff early next year.
“I have seen first-hand the incredible work the Y does through all kinds of programs for anyone regardless of their ability to pay,” said Charles Holden, CEO Holden Oil and Chairman of the Board of the YMCA of Metro North. “The impact on the community is immeasurable. The generosity of so many contributors, most notably Tom Demakes and his family, is incredible.”
The building will begin opening to the public in early Spring 2021. The YMCA has a month-long plan to open its facility gradually and bring more spaces online as restrictions from the pandemic lift.
“I want to invite everyone to come for a visit. You will be amazed at how much is here to enjoy,” says Tom Demakes. “I was never truly happy with how the current facility was built in 1965, this is our chance to redo the Y in a first-class manner and shake off the old perceptions about what the Y is and does in Lynn. This is a modern, state-of-the-art facility built to welcome everyone as our city grows and develops for years to come.”