09.18.20

FOLLOWING AN ALL-OUT PUSH, INCLUDING A PERSONAL CALL TO SECRETARY ESPER, SCHUMER ANNOUNCES $9 MILLION DOD FUNDING FOR WATERTOWN YMCA COMMUNITY CENTER, BOOSTING DOWNTOWN WATERTOWN, FORT DRUM, AND REGIONAL ECONOMY

Jefferson County Applied For $9M Grant From DoD To Convert Vacant Building In Downtown Watertown Into YMCA Community Center; Schumer Has Been Fighting To Secure The Funding Since June

Senator Says Funding Will Revitalize Regional Economy And Improve Quality Of Life For Fort Drum Military Families

Schumer: DoD Funding For Watertown YMCA Will Boost Jefferson County Economy

After his personal call to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper earlier this month, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced $9 million for the City of Watertown’s YMCA community center project in downtown Watertown. The funding will come from the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot (DCIP) grant program, and will contribute to the conversion of a currently vacant building in the city’s downtown into the YMCA’s newly planned community center. The project will provide a year-round community space for Fort Drum’s military families, in addition to bolstering downtown Watertown.

“The YMCA plus Watertown plus Fort Drum is a winning formula for a healthier and more vibrant Watertown region. As New York recovers from the effects of the COVID pandemic, this project and the YMCA will be integral to rebuilding a sense of community promoting public health and boosting the economy,” said Senator Schumer. “I am thrilled to announce this funding and commend the Jefferson County IDA and YMCA for putting together a strong, winning proposal. The new YMCA community center in Watertown will improve the quality of life Fort Drum’s families and community residents and energize the city’s downtown."

On his call to Secretary Esper on September 4, Schumer noted on the call that the new community center would align with the DCIP program’s mission of improving the quality of life for military families and enhancing infrastructure in communities where military bases are located. The center will be especially integral to maintaining the health and community of Watertown and Fort Drum during Upstate New York’s harsh winters. Schumer also wrote Secretary Esper in June to advocate for the funding.  

The project has been a top priority for the City of Watertown, has the support of local officials, including the Jefferson County legislature and top economic development officials, and has the complete backing of Fort Drum. The completed community center would consist of a six-lane lap pool, a separate full-size recreational pool, three exercise rooms, an arts/multipurpose room, two indoor tennis courts and a community kitchen.

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