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Rock Island Library, Two Rivers YMCA, look to raise $800k to complete hybrid location project

The project is nearly 90% funded by private donors
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 10:58 PM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - On Tuesday, the Rock Island Library and Two Rivers YMCA announced a public fundraising campaign to raise the final $800k in a $7.8-million project to convert the Tri-City Jewish Center into a YMCA-library hybrid location.

“By early Summer or late Spring next year we should be able to open up a new facility,” Two Rivers YMCA CEO Mike Wennekamp said, “For about the past 6-8 months, we’ve been kind of quietly raising funds to purchase the building and then complete a successful renovation.”

Wennekamp said 170 private donors have contributed to the $7-million raised so far.

Fundraising campaign member and Rock Island native Aimee Bland said growing up, a place like the proposed hybrid location would have been a dream come true for her family.

“I think about what it would’ve done for me growing up for my mom being a single parent having to take us to the library and then to the fitness center knowing it’s all in one so it’s something, a place where the whole family can get what they want out of it,” Bland said.

“We all carry the events of our youth throughout the rest of our lives and...it’s very rewarding to know that there are community needs that are currently unmet, we (YMCA) working with the library and even other programmatic collaborations can come through a facility like this,” Wennekamp said.

The biggest pitch by both is the amount of ownership community members would have in the new facility.

“Those people aren’t just donors, they’re stakeholders for a project like this and we really feel confident that through that volume of community support that we are going to be able to complete this project, complete it on time,” Wennekamp said.

“Even if it’s five dollars they can say they bought a book or I’ve told my volunteers that I’m going to walk in there and say ‘that table over there? I paid for that’,” Bland said, “I’m going to tell my kids that and my kids are going to tell their kids that so that’s what we’re really encouraging to happen with this last phase.”

With the location being near the section of 28th Avenue and 30th Street, Bland believes it’ll serve the heart of Rock Island well.

“It’s really centrally located so it’s not like you have to go clear across Rock Island to get to the library and fitness center, it’s right there in the middle so it’s accessible to all,” Bland said.

You can find out more about the project here.

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