ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The City of Rockford’s Planning and Development Committee approved funding for the YMCA to expand in two locations in the city.
The $250,000 in funding would go towards upgrading the location on Y Blvd. As well as creating a neighborhood YMCA focused on youth in the community at the Lutheran Church of Good Shepherd.
“These funds would allow us to invest into brick and mortar and invest in creating spaces and places for our children and for our families,” said Brent Pentenburg the CEO of the YMCA of Rock River Valley.
“The YMCA has been dedicated to the Rockford region for some time,” said City of Rockford 9th Ward Alderman, Bill Rose. “Any time they decide to expand services, whether it’s in one area or multiple areas, which in this case it is. We feel like they have they background knowledge and the understanding of our community to implement those programs.”
Pentenburg went over some data that contributed to these projects. Nationwide 6/10 adults live with a chronic illness, and 4/10 live with two. There is also nearly a 10 percent increase in obesity in Winnebago County over the last decade. This includes an increase in child obesity.
“When we look at the physical health of our community as well as the academic success of our young people, and knowing that we have a workforce that is college and career-ready, I think there are some challenges and some needs that we have to reckon with,” Petenburg said. “Nearly half of our young people are overweight or obese and so as a YMCA and more importantly as a community, what are the investments that we are going to make that go upstream so that we provide the support and the nurturing environments and the caring environments and the challenging environments?”
These funds would be coming from the City’s American Rescue Plan Funds(ARPA) dedicated to community violence prevention. As for the YMCA, this is part of a $15 to $20 million capital campaign.
“These funds are, at the end of the day, an investment into kids and families and ensuring that we go upstream to develop the social infrastructure, the health ecosystem so that young people and families have an opportunity to engage in holistic services that build up their spirit, mind, and body,” Pentenburg said.
The unanimous approval means it is now up for a vote at the upcoming City Council meeting.