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G&R Excavating owner Glenn Ray asking community’s input on what to do with former YMCA building

At the end of August of 2007, the former Tyrone YMCA building keys were officially handed over to Glenn Ray of G&R Excavating and Demolition, Inc. of Tyrone. It ended an era of recreational activities and learning provided by the YMCA, but when Ray bought it there was never any set plans on what to do with the deteriorating building.
The YMCA had been a part of Tyrone since 1891, with the present building being a part of the community since 1913.
When financial problems hit the YMCA, the board of directors borrowed $137,000 from Reliance Bank in January of 2003 to cover its taxes, boiler repairs and other debts. The YMCA was staying current with bills and making progress until the Department of Labor and Industry did an onsight inspection and informed the board of many needed repairs.
That hurdle was being handled through a government grant that would cover those deficiencies.
But, in September of 2004 the community endured a flood which destroyed the YMCA’s gym floor and weight room. Without the revenue from those programs, the YMCA couldn’t survive. In November of 2004, the Board of Directors voted to terminate all activities and by December 30, 2004 the Tyrone YMCA closed its doors.
Once all of the bills were satisfied by the YMCA, the building was put on the market for sale; but a buyer was never found even at the reduced price of the building. The YMCA still owed Reliance Bank $48,000 of the $137,000 loan from 2003, and with the legal guidance of Dave Consiglio, who specializes in real estate law, the bank was gracious enough to write off the loan.
Now that G&R and Ray have the keys to the historic building, the question of what to do with it remains unanswered. Ray is now looking to the community to add its input on what he should do with the former YMCA building.
Ray feels that it is important to give something back to the youth of Tyrone for them to have a place to go. He thinks the community is important and should stick together in keeping the community the way it is. He would like to give a place for the kids to go similar to everything the YMCA offered, and at the same time, also provide a place for the Tyrone Community Players to perform.
Ray’s aunt and G&R secretary Pat Wilson, spoke on behalf of an ill Ray yesterday afternoon, stating, “Glenn has a big heart when it comes to our youth.”
“The building needs a lot of work done, such as windows, roof masonry work, many things; Glenn’s looking for some help and suggestions from the community on what he should do with the building,” added Wilson.
Back in July of 2007, Tyrone Borough Council approved a 90 day period before issuing any new notices concerning the various code violations that need to be corrected on the building. Ray is passed that 90 day period and is currently under an additional 90 day period to address these safety issues.
Borough Code Enforcement Officer James Metzgar said that he is presently waiting on a report on the building made by G&R’s engineer. Metzgar wants to review the report and also get his own look inside the building. He feels that the YMCA building could be restored and not torn down, but it could be costly.
Ray understands that restoring the original building would be expensive, which is another reason why he is seeking community involvement. There have been suggestions of eliminating the top part of the building similar to what was done at the present library, but Ray would ideally like to keep the building the way it is.
Once again cost is the issue, and Ray thinks it would almost have to be a community project to restore the original building. He hopes that people in the community could give him suggestions about possible grants that could be available to help fund the restoration of the building, if that route is pursued.
Tyrone Mayor James Kilmartin stated that Ray is asking a good question to the community, in that, would it be more beneficial to restore the history of the building for the youth, or use that money to build a new facility for the youth.
“I’m interested in hearing what the community has to say about it,” said Kilmartin. “I applaud Mr. Ray for his efforts to provide for the community, and hopefully, Mr. Ray, myself and others from the community will be able to put together something for the betterment of the community.”
He added, “We still need something in Tyrone to fill the void of the YMCA.”