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Saratoga County

Middletown YMCA to get bigger in a new building

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Albany/HV: Middletown YMCA to get bigger in a new building
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It's been more than 15 years since kids attended classes there. But the Liberty Street School in Middletown will soon have children walking its halls once again. Our Christian Farrell has more on the former school building's revival.

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- There's plenty of room to exercise inside the Middletown YMCA's fitness room. But by no means is the building on Highland Avenue sprawling.

"It's a daily battle. We laugh about it because as this Y has grown, what we do. We want to create this new program. We want to start a drama club. We want to expand our youth teen program. We want gymnastics. There's a big demand for gymnastics. But we don't have the space," said Middletown YMCA Executive Director Ira Besdansky.

As it turns out, the answer to the YMCA's space issues is a mere hop, skip and shall we say a short walk away. The Y has reached an agreement with the City of Middletown to buy the former Liberty Street School Building. Sale price of $500,000.

"One of the reasons why Middletown was identified as one of the top small cities to raise a family was because of our youth programs. And this is a perfect opportunity to expand the Y program, the city to bring in some additional revenue and take this empty building off our hands," said Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano.

"The focus of the school is really to be a youth center," said Besdansky.

According to YMCA officials, they expect to have this 22,000 square foot former school building ready for kids again in about two or three months. At that time, Besdansky says the shift will begin to move much of the kids stuff around the corner where there's a gym, a stage and plenty of classrooms.

"It allows us opportunity to grow into the future. So there are things that we'll be doing there that we've simply not yet thought of," said Besdansky.

With the organization celebrating 130 years in Middletown next month, it's hard to believe there are still new ways to serve the community.

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