The new Westport Family Y at Mahackeno faced years of approval and litigation delays.
But once construction began 17 months ago, the Y raced ahead.
Now — ahead of schedule — the new facility is almost ready for prime time.
The final touches are underway. The cardio and weight machines are rolling off the truck. Next month, the pool will be filled.
On the evening of Thursday, August 28, a ribbon will be cut. The next day — at the usual bright-and-early start time of 5:30 a.m. — the Wilton Road building opens for business. Throughout that Labor Day weekend, the community is invited to use the new Y, for free.
It’s just 2 miles from the 90-year-old Bedford facility downtown. But measured another way, it’s a world apart.
The old Y — which includes the Weeks Pavilion, shoehorned in 36 years ago next to a former fire station — had 17 different elevations on the 1st floor alone. The Mahackeno building has 2 normal stories.
It’s also got:
- The Gault Welcome Center, including tables and seats.
- A 10-lane pool — with lanes wider than the current Y’s — and an adjacent 20-yard warm water/family therapy pool.
- The Vince and Linda McMahon Gymnasium with 4 adjustable basketball hoops, and scoreboards. It’s also lined for badminton, pickleball and volleyball.
- A cafe serving healthy food.
- A “Fort Mack” play space featuring slides and other fun equipment, to be used when siblings are in the pool or parents are taking classes.
- A cycling room, with 21 new bikes.
- 3 studios for dance, cardio and Zumba classes, and small-group personal training.
- Adult locker rooms with steam and saunas. There are youth lockers too, plus a special one for families and dependent adults.
- A large cardio and weight room — the Robin Tauck Wellness Center — filled with all new equipment. Large windows look out onto woods and the Saugatuck River.
It’s a serene setting — if you ignore the traffic speeding by on the nearby Merritt. (Every part of the building is oriented away from that side.)
The Y has planted 300 trees. They’ve regraded some of the Mahackeno land — and upgraded much of what was in the old Y.
The road from downtown to Mahackeno is fairly straight. But the route the Y has traveled had countless twists and turns.
Next month, they’ll unveil a new map. They hope it will guide them for the next 90 years.