$1.5 million elevator project adds more access to the four-story building for seniors and people with mobility issues.

The YMCA of Metro North held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in partnership with the Melrose Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the completion of its $1.5 million elevator project at the Melrose Family YMCA. Organizers held a small, covid compliant ceremony on Wednesday, May 19th at 10:00 a.m. with Mayor Paul Brodeur, the Melrose Chamber, YMCA leadership. Also present will be the YMCA of Metro North’s longest-standing employee, 80-year-old Kay Danieli, who has taught classes in Melrose for more than 50 years.

“For 50 years, this has been my goal. My dream has come true,” says Danieli. “Most of the seniors that take my class can’t walk upstairs easily. It will make visiting the Y so much easier for everyone.”

Danieli and others have been anticipating the completion since it broke ground in 2019. The construction, which was funded by the YMCA of Metro North and contributions to its capital campaign, experienced significant delays and unanticipated expense due to ground-water level issues and other construction delays that nearly double the project’s cost.

“Well, this is probably the most expense elevator in Melrose, but worth every penny to make our building accessible to more people,” says Kathleen Walsh, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metro North. “We also added new air filter systems, upgraded our Welcome Center, locker rooms, and other areas as we continue to modernize the facility and bring more members back together.”

Built in 1890, with architectural plans from the well-known firm of Walker Hartwell (1833–1919) and William Cummings Richardson (1854–1935), the Melrose YMCA is one of the most historic buildings in Melrose. The building has gone through many interior renovations. In 1962, the Arthur T. Dooley pool facilities were added to the building. Dooley was an executive in the S.S. Pierce Company and honorary chairman of the capital campaign to raise money for the pool annex, which then was a $400,000 project.

“It is so rewarding to work in a facility with such a rich history of adapting to keep pace with the changing needs of our community,’ says Katelyn Papadopoulos, Senior Branch Executive of the Melrose YMCA. “If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we can all adapt to new ways of working and being together to support the health of our community.”

You can learn more about the Melrose Family YMCA: https://www.ymcametronorth.org/locations/melrose-family-ymca/