Galion Y gets a much-needed makeover

By Erin Miller - Galion Inquirer

GALION — The list of improvements at the Galion Community Center YMCA over the past year is quite extensive as well as impressive. And what most in the public don’t realize, these projects are done without passing on the cost to members.

“Most YMCA’s rely on grants for funding. Galion Community Center YMCA is no different,” said Terry Gribble, CEO of the Galion location.

Finding those grants and applying for them was a part of Gribble’s responsibility as CEO for many years. But when Member Engagement Specialist Andee Wildenthaler was hired in 2016, she took over that process.

“Grant writing was a part of a previous position for me, so I already had knowledge in that area,” Wildenthaler said.

Her experience has no doubt proven to be a benefit for the Galion Y. Grant funding increased by nearly $18,000 from 2017 to 2018, and it was all put to good and noticeable use.

For the public, the most notable improvement was the repair of the concrete steps at the main entrance to the building. The project was possible by a grant through the Ralph E. Boyd Foundation with a total amount of $18,751.

Completion of the steps took approximately 12 days with Galion’s Oakstone Landscaping contracted to do the work.

“It’s very important to us to keep the work in these projects local to Galion as much as possible,” Gribble said. He also noted that any work sub-contracted by Oakstone Landscaping was kept to local businesses as well.

Also in 2018, LED lighting was installed in both gymnasiums and the swimming pool area thanks to a $18,020.07 grant from the Galion Community Foundation. This project was completed by Galion’s own Carter Electric.

“Not only did the lighting improve things visually our members enjoying the gyms and swimming pool, but the upgrade will save us approximately $11,000 per year in operating expenses,” said Gribble.

Another major update for 2018 was the installation of 20 new security cameras in and around the building. The new system runs on motion sensors, and also includes cameras installed to view the parking lots around the building.

A grant from the Hessenauer Foundation in the amount of $14,905 made the security system possible.

The Arthur J. Freese Foundation awarded a grant for $23,600 to install much needed air conditioning in the lower level YMCA Pre-school, before- and after-school care, and babysitting rooms.

“This is another project that has been a long time coming,” Wildenthaler said. “Our employees and members are very excited for this to happen.”

Work on this project will be done by Fox Plumbing and Heating of Galion

“Receiving these grants has allowed us to keep our members prices the same for the past six years,” Gribble noted. “We are currently the lowest priced YMCA in over one hundred miles.”

“Even when we did our last major renovation which ended in 2016, the money to do that was pledged from private donors,” continued Gribble. “Raising our member fees is something we have been able to avoid and we are proud of it.”

Looking ahead to starting the grant process for 2019, Gribble looks to focus on the swimming pool and improvements needed there. Starting blocks were replaced in 2017 through operational funds, but other issues need to be addressed.

“The ceiling tile currently in the pool area is over twenty years old,” Gribble said. “It was top of the line at the time it was first put in, but it is just one thing we need to look into sooner rather than later.”


By Erin Miller

Galion Inquirer

Contact Erin Miller at or 419-468-1977 x-2049.

Contact Erin Miller at or 419-468-1977 x-2049.