Peoria Park District acquires former YWCA building

By WEEK Producer

August 16, 2013 Updated Aug 16, 2013 at 9:57 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The old YWCA building has been empty for roughly two years but that's about to change.

"When you think of it being in the heart of the city, we can do almost anything," said Bonnie Noble, executive director of the Peoria Park District. "We can offer the gymnasium for wiffle ball, basketball, the gamut."

According to Noble, the old YMCA building will become a focal point of Lakeview Park. She said the site provides an opportunity for the park district to expand its recreational programs on a campus that already includes other park district assets.

"For instance, during the summer having wonderful camp sites for kids. Not only will they have that building and a gymnasium and a place to go for shelter when it storms but we also have the Lakeview Family Aquatic Center and Owens Ice Center," Noble said.

When no one stepped forward to buy the building, Heartland Bank, which held a $3.5-million mortgage on the property, transferred ownership to the park district. The acquisition was approved by a vote of the park board Wednesday night.

Noble said there is still some roofing work and other repairs that need to be made before they move forward.

The park district anticipates the YWCA building will be operational next year. That will happen in conjunction with them moving their administrative offices only a few hundred yards away into the old Lakeview Museum building.

"That will probably happen in March or April of 2014, but we'll start our programs as soon as possible in the former YWCA," Noble said.