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YMCA to lease building in Morris to provide local programming

MORRIS – The Morris Community YMCA has found a temporary home in Morris and will begin offering local programming to Grundy County residents in the near future.

The Morris Finance & Administration Committee recommended Thursday a lease agreement between the YMCA and the city of Morris that will allow the YMCA to rent the former city hall building at 320 Wauponsee St.

Once moved in, the YMCA will provide programs for seniors and children, as well as host community events.

“We appreciate the support. We look forward to expanding our footprint in Morris and expanding our services in Grundy County, so thank you,” Greater Joliet Area YMCA Senior Vice President Katy Leclair said.

The three-year agreement includes an option to extend the contract another two years.

During the initial three years, the YMCA will be looking for sponsors and collecting donations in hopes of building a permanent facility in Morris.

“This will be our first step toward the introduction of a daily presence here in Morris,” said Missy Durkin, executive director of the Morris Community YMCA.

Rent was intentionally kept low at $500 a month so the YMCA could focus its resources on building a new facility which would provide a “long-term benefit” to the city, Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick said.

“They’re trying to build a permanent home. And if we charge them an exorbitant rent, then all we’re doing is taking those pledges and donations, and we’re putting them in our pocket instead of where it really should be going,” he said.

The city moved out of the Wauponsee facility in 2010. This past winter, Morris’s public works crews gave the building a “face-lift” to make it rental ready.

Kopczick said the combination of large, open rooms with several small offices will make the space a near perfect fit for the YMCA.

The location is well-suited, as well.

“Kids can be dropped off there and they can walk them right down to the park, a couple blocks away; they can walk them to the canal, a couple blocks away,” Kopczick said. “There’s just a whole lot from where that location is.”

The agreement still needs official approval from City Council, which could come at Monday’s meeting.

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