A series of community focus groups identified an overwhelming need for expanded wellness and recreation opportunities in Gothenburg. These opportunities were considered vital for the recruitment and retention of young families and businesses to the community.
In 2013, the local hospital, Gothenburg Health, began considering a large expansion and facilitated community focus groups to better understand the needs of the community. Ten community focus groups identified an overwhelming need for expanded wellness and recreation opportunities.
A financial feasibility study then concluded that a stand-alone recreation center would cost between $8 million and $12 million, while building alongside the ongoing hospital expansion would allow the recreation center to be built for only $5 million. The community quickly came together to raise money for the construction; $3.3 million was raised by individuals and local businesses while the remaining $1.8 million came from successful grant requests.
After fundraising goals were met, a partnership with the YMCA of the Prairie was formed to include Gothenburg into their association. This partnership helped ensure that the project was far more than just a new building, as the YMCA has the resources to holistically address community needs.
The facility opened in April of 2018 and includes a lap pool, a gymnasium, walking track, and fitness room. The building also contains space for the education of healthier lifestyles, dietary consultation, and programming for all ages.
The facility has also helped bridge social gaps by providing opportunities for all, regardless of income level, through member scholarships. The YMCA provided $30,000 of scholarship funding to help families and children afford the programs and resources, and as of December 2018, over 1,700 individuals have become YMCA members.
Gothenburg, NE- 2019 AAC Winner: Presentation
Chief Planning & Development Officer