YMCA coming to Torrey Hills Neighborhood Park

The YMCA has been awarded the Torrey Hills Neighborhood Park project, a recreation facility for the whole community that will replace the large empty lot that has sat vacant for the last 19 years.

“The Torrey Hills Planning Board is extremely pleased that the YMCA has finally been awarded the contract to build a Y facility in the Torrey Hills Park,” said Torrey Hills Planning Board Chair Kathryn Burton. “Residents have waited years for this to happen and now in a few more years, we will have a facility that serves the community. It is much needed and we look forward to it.”

A YMCA was first in the works for Torrey Hills back in the early 2000s but plans were squashed in 2007 when funding did not materialize. Ten years later, the YMCA is again preparing a development plan for the 4-acre site to be reviewed by the city, according to Steven Hadley, representative for District 1 Councilmember Barbara Bry.

“We’re excited about the possibilities of bringing a YMCA to the Torrey Hills area,” said Courtney Pendleton, YMCA of San Diego County association director of public relations.

Pendleton said they are still in the very early stages of evaluating the facility but the conceptual design targets a 45,000-square-foot building comparable to other YMCA facilities in the county, such as the newly-opened Jackie Robinson Family YMCA in southeast San Diego. In 2015, when the YMCA first proposed taking over the Torrey Hills park site, proposed features included a gym and pool, soccer arenas and parking lot.

One of the biggest challenges for the site is the access — the YMCA is looking at creating a new roadway from Carmel Mountain Road up to the site. The road alone will add to the project review and timeline.

“The timeline for full completion depends on several things, including fundraising the dollars necessary to make the project a reality,” Pendleton said. “We estimate being able to begin construction on the facility in late 2019.”

The process the YMCA typically follows is first identifying a property, working out the legal entitlements (in this case, a long-term lease with the city) and then conducting marketing to residents in the area to gather input on what programs and services they would like to see and gauge the membership interest.

The YMCA is a membership model, so it charges a fee to join. Fundraising efforts provide financial assistance for people who cannot afford the membership, so they never turn anyone away.

“At the YMCA of San Diego County, we’re two years into our t10-year strategic vision. By 2025, we’re planning to double our impact in the community. For us, having presence in Torrey Hills represents another opportunity to serve more kids, adults and families, all while strengthening our community,” Pendleton said. “This site was one of the strongest third-party market studies the Y has ever conducted. We’re excited the community is eager for a YMCA.”

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