The newest YMCA in Pittsburgh has opened its doors. The $12 million facility is named for long-time civil rights leader and activist Thelma Lovette. The 96 year-old grew up in the Hill District and has been an active supporter of the YMCA for decades.
"I want to thank everyone, especially the YMCA of Pittsburgh. You have been a stalwart in this city and I have watched you and you have encouraged me and I want to continue to encourage you the way you have encouraged me," said Lovette, who traveled from her home in Arizona to attend the ribbon cutting for the YMCA named in her honor.
The 43,000 square-foot facility features a swimming pool, a gym with cardio equipment and weights, and a gymnasium with a basketball court and indoor running/walking track above. But, to local officials, the Thelma Lovette YMCA is so much more than a new gym and community center.
"It's something that the community can really be proud of. It'll draw people back to the community, keep people here, keep our young people here, keep our young people engaged in positive activities that will help the community. I see nothing but good things ahead for the Hill District and for the city and for this region," said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said the facility is just part of a larger revitalization of the Hill District.
"This community asset is just another example of the job-creating development that's taking place in the Hill District," said Ravenstahl, "from the Consol Energy Center, the Carnegie Library, the Hill House, plans for the new grocery store, and much more with the 28-acre site that will soon be developed that will connect downtown to the Hill District better than ever before."
The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh serves more than 90,000 residents throughout the region each year. It's one of the largest providers of child care and after-school activities in the city. YMCA leaders are also quick to point out community outreach efforts, health and fitness programs, and senior assistance, among other things. The namesake of the newest Y said she remains grateful to the organization that gave her so much.
"I'm saying thank you, thank you YMCA of Pittsburgh for all you've done for the city of Pittsburgh and all you've done for Thelma Lovette," she said.