CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Fair Acres Family YMCA, in collaboration with the McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation, marked a milestone Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its new storefront fitness center on the Carthage Square.

The Y on the Square, located at 141 E. Third St., was designed with an emphasis on seniors, and it features a full workout center, a weight room, cardio and bodybuilding equipment, as well as showers, bathrooms and additional space for exercise classes. The center is available for use by any Carthage YMCA member. It is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The project was made possible by the McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation, which aims to promote a healthier lifestyle in the Carthage community. The foundation awarded the YMCA with a grant of up to $130,000 for equipment and a two-year lease agreement to kick-start the fitness center to help with senior wellness in the area. The second floor of the building serves as the foundation’s office space.

“It just all fell together,” said Amy Grimes, director of donor relations for the foundation. “We had the idea for a downtown gift shop, and we work with the YMCA quite a bit. We thought the idea was kind of crazy but maybe it would work. And it kind of meshed. We put our heads together and came up with it. It’s been a group effort.”

The fitness center is nearly complete, but there a few minor additions still in the works, such as the addition of a blood-pressure machine for health monitoring. The overall goal with the satellite location is to focus on senior health, as well as provide an accessible workout space for those working in the downtown area.

“We’re focusing on senior health because our main facility is on the south side of town, and one of the biggest reasons that we get that people can’t come to the Y is transportation,” said Jonathan Roberts, executive director of the YMCA. “For us to have a location on the north side of town, we’re hoping it will limit the restriction of transportation, as it’s a lot closer to residential and lower income families.”

Linda Punch, 67, visited the new fitness center for the first time Wednesday, and she said she thought the space was beautiful with its rustic look and exposed brick. She’s a member of SilverSneakers, a free fitness program provided by insurance plans that aims to keep seniors active and healthy.

“The Y has helped me get stronger and gain better balance,” said Punch. “I’m going to try coming to this one, and we’re fortunate because we only live 3 miles away. I think this will be a benefit for other seniors."

Beginning in September after Labor Day, the Y on the Square will be open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays. Any non-YMCA member can utilize the fitness center by purchasing an adult day pass for $8. Children ages 12 and older who have undergone YMCA equipment fitness orientation can attend the center with a parent or guardian present. The Carthage YMCA currently has just fewer than 5,000 members.

Wednesday’s ceremony also celebrated the official opening of The Lily Rose Boutique and the Gaderian, which are also housed in the building. The Lily Rose Boutique is an extension of the Pink Rose Boutique located inside of Mercy McCune-Brooks Hospital.

It shares the first floor with the YMCA and sells an array of items such as cards, jewelry, Halloween decorations, paintings and more. The gift shop is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Beth Simmons, director of the McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation, said proceeds from its gift shops mainly help benefit its mammogram program, which has provided free mammograms for women in the community for over a decade.

“Our mammogram program vouchers are available to anyone who calls and asks, even people with insurance,” said Simmons. “It runs about $3,000 to $4,000 a month, so we have to sell a lot of things in our gift shops. We sell everything from $1 to $200 items.”

The Gaderian, which means gathering place, is housed on the third floor of the building where it spreads over 4,500 square feet. The event space will have an additional 3,000-square-foot space on the rooftop once it’s completed. The Gaderian is operated by project manager Brandon Calliotte and his wife, Cassandra. It will have a capacity of 200 people.

“We can host wedding events, corporate meetings, proms and the roof is the final piece,” said Brandon Calliotte. “We’ve been working on this entire building project since October of last year. We’ve had a lot of great support, and it’s been an amazing experience. It’s definitely come a long way.”

Joplin YMCA

The Joplin Family YMCA is located at 3404 W. McIntosh Circle Drive. The Y's downtown building at 510 S. Wall Ave., which has more than 54,000 square feet, is for sale for $1.489 million. The property was put up for sale in 2017 after consolidating its operation with the south branch.

Kim Gray, chief operating officer for Joplin Family Y, said the consolidation has been working out nicely. She said the downtown Y was originally built as a multistory dormitory and wasn't fitting its needs.

The Joplin Y also provides child care, school-age services and after-school care and summer care for children ages 5 to 12. In partnership with United Way and Joplin Schools, the Joplin Y has been able to feed hundreds of children meals throughout the day all summer long.

"This summer, we provided our 300 children enrolled in our day camp program with three full meals a day," said Gray. "It fills the gap for the schools who rely on the free and reduced lunch program in the school year. Then, we add a physical activity component to that, and we call that combination of physical activity and meals, 'Fuel Up. Stay Fit.' It's open to not only the kids enrolled in our program, but to the community, as well."

Neosho YMCA

The Neosho Freeman Family YMCA is located at 4701 Chouteau Ave. It offers a number of fitness, athletic and child care programs. Officials with the branch could not be reached for comment.

News reporter

Kimberly Barker is a news reporter for The Globe who covers Northeast Oklahoma, Southeast Kansas, as well as Carl Junction and Webb City.

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