LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It's a fenced-in, empty, dusty lot right now, filled with rocks and tufts of grass at the corner of 18th and West Broadway. But signs placed there Thursday afternoon, scattered around the lot, mark a brighter future in Louisville's West End.
"When that building opens, I think this community will explode with excitement," Betty Kinzer, a member of the YMCA of Greater Louisville, said.
The lot is the site of a new YMCA complex announced Thursday afternoon. The new complex will be around 62,000 square feet, a $28 million investment in Louisville's west side that also includes a Norton Healthcare facility and a Republic Bank and Trust branch. It will also serve as a space for Family & Children's Place and ProRehab Physical Therapy.
"A lot of residents in the West End drive to the Downtown Y or even further to work out, so now they can come right here to their own community," Kinzer said.
Kinzer said she was involved in the initial discussions about the new complex. Ten years later, she said it is exciting to see the plan finally coming to fruition.
"There is absolutely no turning back," she said.
"We knew it was going to happen," Mayor Greg Fischer said. "We just didn't know how long it was going to take."
"This is coming to a dying, desperate, needy community," Luther Brown with Little Hands, Little Feet said. "This is where this is coming to."
For Brown who has lived in the West End his whole life, the new YMCA is a needed resource for his community.
"So many health issues, violence is also a primary issue, but to have this here just shows we're looking for our children and next generation to follow," he said.
"This community gets a lot of bad publicity, but this is great publicity for this community," Kinzer said.
"To this neighborhood, it is much more than a YMCA," Rep. John Yarmuth said.
"Now, the generations to come see a future here on this site," Brown added.
It's more than just brick and mortar, or right now, rocks and dust. This future complex is a sign of hope and a promise to help better the people of West Louisville.
The YMCA is expected to break ground sometime before the end of this year.
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