Mandan News

YMCA coming to Mandan

At the announcement of the Family Wellness facility in Mandan, front left to right, Jason Arenz, president of Mandan Parks and Recreation District, Bill Bauman, executive director of the Missouri Valley Family YMCA, and Dr. Craig Lambrecht, president of Sanford Bismarck unveil the artist rendering on Monday. In the back is Fred Fridley, Sanford Bismarck public affairs director. The building will be built where the old go-cart and miniature golf course is located next to Raging River Waterpark. (Mike McCleary photo)

At the announcement of the Family Wellness facility in Mandan, front left to right, Jason Arenz, president of Mandan Parks and Recreation District, Bill Bauman, executive director of the Missouri Valley Family YMCA, and Dr. Craig Lambrecht, president of Sanford Bismarck unveil the artist rendering on Monday. In the back is Fred Fridley, Sanford Bismarck public affairs director. The building will be built where the old go-cart and miniature golf course is located next to Raging River Waterpark. (Mike McCleary photo)

By Dustin White
Mandan News, editor

It’s been over half a decade since talks began about bringing a YMCA to the city of Mandan. At times, it seemed as if the recreational center would never come to fruit; however, with a number of entities moving forward, the plan continued to maintain some life. Now, that plan is becoming a reality.

Announcing a $12.3 million recreation center, a partnership between Sanford Health and the Missouri Valley Family YMCA called Family Wellness, is set to open in the Spring of 2016.

Getting to this point has not been an easy task though.

“This hasn’t been without its hurdles and barriers, and it’s taken both parties to see it through,” Bill Bauman, Bismarck YMCA Executive Director, said in a 2013 interview. “We’re being creative in what we doing. But the end goal is to bring a YMCA to the community of Mandan. This is a great location, and I think we’ll be great neighbors,” he told the park board.

Those hurdles began from the beginning of the planning. Dealing with who would own the land and how it was to be paid for posed a couple of difficulties. However, one of the largest hurdles was finding a location for the center.

Having found what appeared to be an ideal location, an unused portion of land immediately south of Raging Rivers, initial offers to purchase it were rejected. With an out of town private buyer having already offered to buy the land, the project became slow moving. However, it wasn’t dead.

Not wanting to let go of that location, as it provided a central destination for the center, the Park Board worked with the buyers to come to a deal.

It would only be about four months later, in July of 2013, that an agreement was made. For $1.7 million, the park district had acquired the 5.25 acres from Gas U UP LLC. In order to help this cost, the Mandan City Commission had previously approved to set aside money to be disbursed to help with the purchase.

However, there was still a major hurdle to over come: funding. Being able to tap into a number of resources, the money did begin to come in. With at least $2 million of the project coming from public fundraising, $800,000 of which has been raised, the community has been brought together a bit more.

The entire process has largely been about community building though, and bringing together a variety of partners.

“Sanford is committed to being a strong community partner,” Craig Lambrecht, MD, Sanford Bismarck president, said. ”This project is bringing together the region’s most recognized family fitness organization and the region’s largest health care system. We will undoubtedly be able to best serve our growing community’s wellness needs by working together.”

With most of the moving parts in place, it still would be nearly another year before a more concrete plan was officially announced on Monday, Aug. 11. Looking forward, we can expect ground to be broken for the facility in the Spring of 2015.

The facility
Standing where the former Raging Rivers miniature golf course and go-cart track, which haven’t been in use for a couple of years, currently are, will eventually be a 41,000-square-foot facility.

Bauman said that the facility will include a large gymnasium, fitness studios, a suspended walking track and wellness center with workout equipment.

Besides being able to serve up to 4,000 members, the facility will also be able to provide daycare for 50 families. With only 25-40% of the current need for childcare in the area being satisfied, this addition will come as a great welcome. Bauman has said that families were already calling in order to be put onto the waiting list, even before the project was announced.

Currently though, the plans for the facility are missing a swimming pool, but that could change if additional funds are procured.

For more information about Family Wellness, visit familywellnessbisman.com.

Rendering of the Family Wellness center proposed to open in Mandan, Spring of 2016  (Submitted photo)

Rendering of the Family Wellness center proposed to open in Mandan, Spring of 2016 (Submitted photo)