By Nancy Kline
Sentinel Staff Writer
OTTAWA – Thanks to the generosity of local and government gifts to an 18-year-old HVAC unit at the YMCA will be replaced.
“It’s not every day that you have to replace an HVAC unit the size of a bus,” said YMCA CEO Aaron Baumgartner. He spoke during an open house Thursday at the YMCA recognizing the donors.
The HVAC unit conditions the air around the indoor heated swimming pool. The $300,000 replacement project is funded by the State of Ohio and local organizations including Mercy Health, Unverferth Manufacturing, and the village of Ottawa.
“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with you all and have our name on something that promotes health and wellness in the community,” said St. Rita’s President Ronda Lehman. “We feel connected to Putnam County and certainly our presence at the YMCA with the therapy and the things we have been able to do here,” Lehman said over 900 people in Putnam County work at Mercy Health across their footprint.
Putnam County Republican Chairman Tony Schroeder spoke on behalf of Ohio State Senator Rob McColley (R) and Ohio State Representative Jim Hoops (R) who were unable to attend the open house.
“We were very glad to have their intervention and help in arranging a portion of the funding necessary for replacing the natatorium through the capital budget process,” he said. Schroeder explained the capital budget is done every two years and provides local resources to local governments and non-profit entities. “We were very fortunate to have their involvement when that happened,” Schroeder said.
Larry Unverferth said his parents had been involved with the Putnam County YMCA since day one. “This is a fantastic place for families,” Unverferth said.
“Our indoor, heated swimming pool is an amazing asset for the Putnam Community. We host YMCA and high school swimming leagues (Ottawa-Glandorf, Kalida, Miller City, Pandora, and Bluffton), swim lessons, adult aquatics and aerobics classes, and our 2nd Grade Swim Program,” Baumgartner said.
Every year over 500 second graders receive water safety instructions at no cost to their families. This is possible because of donations given to the YMCA.
Other programs made possible by donations include
– Nearly 500 Putnam County citizens get full access to the Y’s programs and facility at a reduced cost
– 153 First responders and military family members get affordable access to other programs
– 677 front line medical personnel and their families get affordable access to the facility
“Annual campaign donations to the Putnam County YMCA change lives every year,” Baumgartner said. He said thousands of visitors every year enjoy the Natatorium.
“Funding for this project is a blessing,” Baumgartner said. “The Putnam YMCA is fortunate to have partners like the State of Ohio, Mercy Health, Unverferth Manufacturing, Inc., the Village of Ottawa, and our many generous donors and members.”