First reported 9/29/2009 1:03 p.m.

A crushing economy has dealt a fatal blow to prospects of building a new 80,000-square foot YMCA facility in Forest Park. The board of the Oak Park-based YMCA voted overwhelmingly Tuesday morning to pull out of its commitment to the village.

With only $3.4 million in donations, the West Cook YMCA was faced with having to finance the remainder of the estimated $24.3 million project, according to Jan Pate, president and CEO. Under the terms of a contract with municipal government in Forest Park, the YMCA was set to close on the purchase of 7.8 acres of land in February 2010. Within 30 days, according to the deal, construction had to begin.

“We realized we would not be able to meet the stipulations in the contract,” Pate said after the YMCA board voted 23-1 to kill the deal.

The decision was shared Tuesday morning with Mayor Anthony Calderone and Village Administrator Tim Gillian, said Pate. Neither Gillian nor Calderone immediately returned a phone call from the Review seeking comment.

Commissioners Mark Hosty and Marty Tellalian said they had been informed of the decision and were disappointed, but for different reasons.

Hosty has served on the council since the earliest talks of luring the YMCA from its aging structure in Oak Park began several years ago. The decision is “a reflection of the current economy,” he said and is a great disappointment.

Tellalian was never a proponent of the project and said it’s unfortunate that so much time and effort has been expended for naught.

“I’d hate to think how much money we’ve spent on legal fees on this,” Tellalian said.

The YMCA remains committed to constructing a new facility, said Pate, because the 55-year-old building at the corner of Marion and Randolph isn’t sufficient. Pate said she had already contacted several donors to the planned construction and understood they remain committed to lending support.

“They completely understand where we are,” Pate said.