Frank DeLuca YMCA to build outdoor sportsplex

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Posted January 22, 2021 | Ocala Gazette Staff

The Frank DeLuca YMCA breaks ground this week on what will become an outdoor sportsplex.

The new facility will feature outdoor sports for both youth and adults. The first phase of the project will include a metal “airnasium,” a covered structure for outdoor multipurpose courts for sports like basketball and volleyball. Plans also call for four uncovered pickleball courts.

Later phases will include a 2,000-square-foot youth activity center, outdoor restrooms, additional soccer fields and expanded parking.

The organization continues to accept donations to complete the project. The facility’s namesake has pledged $1 million toward the sportsplex. It would be DeLuca’s second million-dollar donation to the facility.

“We all have certain organizations that are important to each of us in different ways, however, our children are probably the most important to all of us. By leaving a legacy in the Y we are helping assure the future of our children, that is why I continue to invest in the YMCA and this project expansion,” DeLuca said in a prepared statement.

In addition to providing more space for sports, the YMCA also hopes to use the new facility for camps and exercise classes.

“We have been working on this project for a long time, and we are excited to see it come to life,” Nicole Bloom, the group’s executive director said in a press release.

Fitness centers like the Y were among those businesses closed during the early outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The group felt it was important to offer outdoor spaces to help people feel comfortable and still exercise.

The local YMCA has been serving Marion County community for more than 30 years. As part of the YMCA of Central Florida, the family center offers programs intended to fight chronic disease, boost children’s after-school safety and learning and strengthen neighborhoods.

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