Rural Reboot: Central Lincoln County YMCA


    Lincoln County is in love with it's new YMCA. (WGME)

    DAMARISCOTTA (WGME) -- Lincoln County is in love with it's new YMCA.

    The state-of-the-art facility provides many things the community wanted and needed for so long.

    Beautiful downtown Damariscotta is quite the attraction for visitors and residents alike. The area can boast another beauty: The Central Lincoln County YMCA.

    Featuring tennis courts, an elevated track, multiple exercise and hang out spots, it's easy to see the draw.

    Meagan Hamblet is the CEO of the Y, and says this space is more than just a place to get a work out.

    “The whole premise of this project was to turn this old YMCA facility that was much like a rec center into a community center that was open and inviting,” Hamblet said.

    The new facility opened less than a year ago, and has been a vision for this community for quite some time.

    “The community was demanding of this project a space where everyone of all ages could come together and be under one roof to be healthy,” Hamblet said.

    Hamblet says the community is taking advantage of the building. There's a winter's farmer's market and child care programs and the utilization is only expected to grow.

    “We expected maybe a 10 percent, maybe a 15 percent growth and we have grown by almost 35 percent over the course of 1 year,” Hamblet said.

    The entire project might not have been possible without an important partner.

    “CEI really is a resource to small businesses and community organizations like the Y,” CEO of Coastal Enterprises Betsy Biemann said.

    The non-profit provides loans that might not otherwise be available to projects revitalizing rural Maine. Biemann says in this case they were able to help the Y start construction as soon as possible.

    “The Y had a capital gap they were trying to renovate and expand their facility and serve the 10 surrounding communities and they needed that piece of financing that they hadn't quite been able to secure but they were ready to go with their renovation,” Biemann said. “If we did not have CEI behind us as a partner we could not have made this project come to fruition.”

    Biemann says it's all about supporting projects that help reboot rural Maine and making life here the way it should be.

    Hamblett says the dream has become a reality, offering a space for everyone to enjoy.

    Phase one of the project is almost done, but there's more left to do. Phase two will include creating an aquatic facility.

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