The La Porte County Family YMCA hosted an Open House & Ribbon Cutting for their Andrew Avenue Education and Recreation Center. The Open House started at 10:30 a.m. and went until 1:00 p.m on Saturday, June 7. The Open House featured a cook out. The ribbon cutting ceremony was at 10:30 and was administered by the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce. Tours were also available after the ribbon-cutting.
“The chamber of commerce supports the YMCA in all of its endeavors.” President of the Commerce Mike Seitz said. “The Y is a great organization and it’s a vital asset to our community. It enhances our quality of life so much.”
According to Seitz, the YMCA does a lot for the children.“They do so much for the kids in our community, and the kids are the future of Laporte County,” Seitz said.
Many organizations made donations to help make this possible. 1st Source Bank, Jim and Susan Aaron, Don, Cindy, Caity and Megan Berchem, Eugene Berchem, Joseph, Joseph and Geno Berchem, Central State Manufacturing, Inc., Deutscher Concrete, Taylor Duniform, Tom Fara, Jude and Shirley Hermsen, Jack Jones, La Porte FOP #54, Tom and Jean Larson, Mendoza Concrete, ProDrive, Steve Sawaya, Sherwin Williams, Smith Excavating, Jim Wade Construction, Cody Dunifon, Enbridge Energy, Dr. Charles and Rita Hagenow, House of Fara, LaPorteCountyLife.com, La Porte Insurance Agency/Hague Family, Larson-Danielson Construction, Pavey Excavating, Redwoods Foundation, Sharp Electric Services, Smith Ready Mix, Unity Foundation of La Porte County and Whirlpool Corporation all made donations.
While the new facility is going to be used this summer for summer camps, it will be also be open to the public. A new treehouse-like playground was installed at the park. There were multiple sections of the treehouse, mostly made of wood. Phase one of the tree house was the observation deck. In the next section, there was a swing-set and a bridge. Phase three included a penthouse apartment and Grand Prix course, with sand pits on the lower level. Phase four included a rock wall and spiral slide and will include a platform for water cannons. There will also be a launching pad for water balloons in that section.
On a concrete path near the tree-house were gaga pits. Those are used for playing “dodge ball from beneath the knees”. Tetherball and hopscotch courses were also there for the kids to enjoy. A high school regulated basketball court was next to the tree-house featuring two ten foot rims, an 8 foot rim and a 6 foot rim.
“This is a fantastic venue for the children of the community,” Laura Francesconi, Chamber Chairperson said.
According to Donald Berchem, who was heavily involved in the creation of the park, the Andrew Avenue park is there to enrich young children ages three to fifteen. They offer fun activities there all the time, such as soccer and t-ball.