Donations expected to help pay for a new YMCA facility in Forest Park are accumulating slowly, but the president of the local non-profit said he’s confident that the pace will quicken in the next six months.
Scott Gaalaas, president of the West Cook YMCA, commented publicly for the first time on the contributions rolling in. Roughly $4 million, or one-third of the $12 million goal has been collected thus far, said Gaalaas. That puts the fundraising effort behind the schedule that organizers were hoping for, but Gaalaas said that none of the potential donors have said outright that they won’t contribute.
At this point in the campaign, the YMCA is quietly soliciting money from those who may be able to contribute larger sums of money. With the stock market down, Gaalaas said contributors have been reluctant to make a financial commitment against a depleted portfolio. However, he said he anticipates the economy will rebound in the coming months and those potential donors would be more willing to write a check.
Gaalaas and several members of the YMCA board of directors were in Forest Park May 27 to discuss the project with community members during an open forum. The session drew only two or three residents and was canceled for lack of attendance. The meeting was arranged by the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development.
Timelines call for the West Cook YMCA to break ground on a new, 80,000-square foot facility in March or April of next year. The project would move the existing programs from Oak Park to an almost 8-acre campus on Madison near the Altenheim homes. Construction is expected to cost an estimated $17 million.
Thus far, the slow pace of fundraising has not forced the YMCA to adjust its timelines, said Gaalaas.