YMCA To Expand Bedford Facility, Enhance Camp Mahackeno

In 2014, the Westport Weston Family Y opened its new Bedford Family Center, off Wilton Road.

It was big, beautiful, modern, bright and airy.

It also lacked gymnastics, and a child care center.

The Westport Weston Family YMCA’s Bedford Family Center.

Four years later, the Y is ready to embark on a 2nd phase of construction. Highlights include bringing the gymnastics program back from Norwalk, increasing space for programs like yoga, and enhancing facilities and amenities at nearby Camp Mahackeno.

Today, the Y reveals the specifics in a series of member meetings in the Schine Room. Two were held this morning. One began a few minutes ago. A 4th is set for 6:30 tonight.

According to CEO Pat Riemersma, a 22,000-square foot, 2-story addition will connect to the current “Kids Club” part of the current building (facing the main parking lot).

The upper level will include space for gymnastics, and a bigger “Kid’s Club.”

An architect’s drawing of the proposed Bedford Family Center upper level expansion.

The lower level will allow expansion of popular programs like group exercise, spinning, dance and youth services.

The addition is within the previously approved 107,000-square foot footprint, Riemersma says.

The project includes 70 more parking spaces. However, the Y will not seek a change to its current membership cap, or increase the day camp cap of 360 children.

Camp Mahackeno — just south of the Bedford Family Center — will see a new pool and splash pad; new poolhouse; re-grading of the athletic field; relocated archery range; 2 new giant slides (tucked into existing grading and vegetation); expanded playground, with equipment for older children; improvements to the outdoor amphitheater, and a refurbished and winterized Beck Lodge.

Plans for the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s Bedford Family Center expansion, and renovations at Camp Mahackeno. New construction and areas of enhancement are marked in yellow.

The facility addition and camp improvements are slated to begin in September 2019. Camp Mahackeno is expected to open on time in June 2020. The building addition is planned for completion in September 2020.

Total cost of the project is $25 million. Funding will come from various sources, including the capital campaign, endowment and bank financing, Riemersma says.

16 responses to “YMCA To Expand Bedford Facility, Enhance Camp Mahackeno

  1. Elizabeth Thibault

    And yet affordable and reliable childcare, like the Y used to provide in it’s downtown location, is still not being added. Childcare is a huge part of the Y’s mission nationally, and there is a severe shortage of affordable programs for younger children here in town. (Call any NAEYC accredited program here, starting with the infants program, and you’ll be faced with a 2 year wait list and a $2400 monthly pricetag. These are all non-profits, too!) I’m sure the new addition will be lovely and fantastic, but it’s sad to see the Y continue to ignore the needs of it’s youngest members.

      • David J. Loffredo

        152 kids, ages 6 weeks to 5 years, approved and will be open two years before the Y’s center would have been ready. With a declining school enrollment due to the high cost of real estate, longer commute times, excessive traffic, and reduction in tax breaks to own an expensive home – we’ll see if even this place is ever at capacity.

      • and it will probably be very expensive…….

      • Elizabeth Thibault

        Yes, as Tracy says, for profit and expensive. Again, market rate right now for quality programs is $2400 a month. (I did tour one last year that was much less expensive, but it was a warehouse for kids, the teachers were screaming at the children, had their phones out instead of engaging with the kids, etc… I wouldn’t send my dog there.) There is a dearth of quality, affordable, ACCREDITED childcare programs in town. This one additional program will not fully meet that need. The Y could repurpose the Red Barn building, and could make the necessary alterations much faster than waiting for this addition. They choose not to. They choose to ignore the childcare mission of their national organization for some unknown reason. It’s sad.

  2. charles taylor

    A far cry from the 1958 rotary pavilion at Camp M. Good for Ruth Bedford’s foresightedness !
    God Bless her

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

      Charlie, I will always remember you and your beautiful sister Ann (quite possibly the 1st crush and also the best) singing with us 6 year old “Papooses” around the campfire. I mean, it just didn’t get any better than that.

  3. what about the RedBarn?

    • Jack Backiel

      I’d like to buy the Red Barn and relocate the 06880 blog there, provided Dan keeps the liquor license!

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

      There will be Westporters who have absolutely no recollection of the Nistico family. Now that’s being culturally deprived!!!!

  4. Martin Schofield

    Can they please expand the free weights section of the fitness center? It’s almost impossible to workout with the influx of HS and college kids during the summer and on holiday breaks.

  5. An archery range? How nice. How about world class racquet ball and squash courts that would attract lessons, tournaments, and people from all over to join the Y? And, I am assured by Board President, Paul Keblish, after numerous conversations and email exchanges that a water fountain will finally be installed in the men’s locker room during the annual maintenance the end of August. Imagine that: you actually have to have a discussion to have a water fountain in a locker room. Will a water fountain be installed in the women’s locker room? Or, as I have been told, maybe not because nobody has complained about it yet. I can say that many of the male members are counting on it and can’t wait. At least we got the phone moved from the door out to the gym and the TV placed on a different wall where members can actually see it.

  6. Why doesn’t the Westport Y allow United Healthcare’s Medicare plans to have a Silver Sneakers program? The closest Silver Sneakers for Westport seniors is the Fairfield Y or Anytime Fitness in Norwalk.

  7. Ann Marie Flynn

    Deb love your Silver Sneakers program idea. It would be a wonderful happening for us seniors who enjoy our workouts….and stay healthy. But the many membership fees we have to pay at times makes us think more of our purse than our body.
    I’m hitting my Big 80 next week and I believe working out has been a big help for me……
    Maybe the Y will think more on the Silver Sneakers program, that would be wonderful.

  8. Bart Shuldman

    Congrats to the Y. Traffic never became a problem. Miss you downtown though.