With purchase of church property, YMCA looks to build modern community center

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The West Essex YMCA, a branch of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges, has acquired the needed space to build a brand-new, state-of-the-art Y that will better serve the health, wellness and youth program needs of the community for many years to come.

The Y has purchased the Grace Lutheran Church property at 304 South Livingston Ave., just walking distance from the current Y, and will be involving the community throughout the design and development process, conducting multiple studies in an attempt to solicit feedback so that the new facility is relevant and provides programs and amenities that are essential to members.

“We are excited about this project and the opportunity it presents to expand our programs and services. The Y has long served as a hub for neighbors, nonprofits, businesses and other organizations to come together and our vision for this new Y is one that reflects the unity of the local community, and provides opportunities for all to belong and thrive,” said Richard K. Gorab, president and CEO of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. “We look forward to working with the township of Livingston and community as we develop plans for this new Y.”

The West Essex Y currently provides in-person and virtual wellness programming to more than 3,000 members. The Y also operates Peanut Shell Early Childhood Learning Center, located just off Route 10 in Livingston in the Regent Street office complex.

Beyond its gym, child care, camp and swim programs, the Y has delivered essential needs to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, distributing more than 100,000 pounds of food through partnerships with local entities, providing child care for families of front-line workers, and helping seniors stay healthy and connected during periods of isolation.

“The YMCA has for some time outgrown its current facilities on South Livingston Avenue,” Livingston Mayor Shawn R. Klein said. “Livingston’s YMCA had been an integral and beloved institution in our community for generations and now, with their new location, they will be able to better provide state-of-the-art accommodations and services for years to come.”