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UPDATED: Officials: Somerset County YMCA Board Approves Of Site In Township, Could Be Consolata Property

The newly purchased Consolata Missionaries property on Route 27 will probably be the site for a new YMCA.


Update: Franklin Township is one of three towns in Somerset County identified as possible branch sites, Somerset County YMCA David Carcieri said in an email.

Carcieri declined to name the other two, but wrote that “the interest and enthusiasm of Franklin township officials, and the community, have been the catalyst for advancing this opportunity.”

“Franklin was identified primarily based on three factors, which include community support, growth in the township, and appropriate distance from other Somerset County YMCA branches,” Carcieri wrote.

He wrote that after the Somerset Hills YMCA and Somerset Valley YMCA merged and became Somerset County YMCA in 2015, the new organization began an 18-month “facility reinvestment and development strategy” which resulted in the suggestions for new locations.

On June 7, the YMCA Board of Directors approved funding for “professional services to advance the due diligence process for site suitability and planning,” Carcieri wrote. “The due diligence process would include an assessment of the community’s needs, which would inform and guide decisions on potentials programs and services.”

As far as funding the new facility, Carcieri wrote, “As is often the case with these projects, various funding sources will be considered. We would anticipate that a fundraising committee would be formed to encourage and solicit community support from individual and corporate donors. Township officials have expressed their willingness to work with us to help advance the project.”

 

Original Story: The township’s newest land purchase, the former Consolata Missionaries property, could be the home of a new YMCA, township officials announced June 27.

The announcement was made by Deputy Mayor Carl Wright and Township Manager Robert Vornlocker.

Vornlocker said that he was told on June 26 that the Somerset County YMCA Board Of Directors had unanimously approved a site in Franklin.

“We are now in ownership of a key location that has been of interest to the YMCA, that’s the Consolata property, and now we begin the process of working with the YMCA to make it happen,” Vornlocker said.

“We’ve worked with the leadership of YMCA, Deputy Mayor Wright, Mark Healey (the township’s principal planner), the mayor’s had a little bit to do with it, Councilman (James) Vassanella, the Land Use Committee at one time or another has met with the YMCA,” he said. “This goes back before I became township manager, when we first started these discussions. We explored location after location.”

“They’re finally coming to Franklin Township,” Wright said.

The YMCA, Vornlocker said, has “committed funding for due diligence on their part. We’ll work in partnership with them to continue that process until it’s completed.”

“There’s many, many things to discuss,” he said. “We will discuss a lot of those in land use meetings, but going forward, I’m sure the public will hear  a lot of discussions.”

“Thank you Councilman Wright,” Mayor Phil Kramer said. “He’s led the charge but every council member up here has had some part, even if it was just encouraging that it happen. It’s going to be quite a feather in our cap, there’s a lot of work to be done, even some possible pitfalls, but you have the dedication of nine members up here and the township manager to get that done.”

This is not the township’s first try at establishing a YMCA in the Eight Villages. In November 2003, then-Deputy Mayor Bill Grippo announced at a press conference that the Somerset Valley YMCA would be establishing a branch at the corner of Mettlers and Weston roads.

The Y was to be part of a larger complex on between 6 and 8 acres, comprised of retail, medical and office buildings and housing.

The property’s owner, Eastman Cos., had pledged $450,000 in construction costs to the project, and Grippo headed up a committee to raise the rest of the money.

The center was never built.

Township officials on May 11 closed on the $14 million deal to purchase the 65-acre Consolata property on Route 27.

Kramer said at the time that he hoped a YMCA could be located in the northern portion of the property.

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