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Through Jan, 20, the YMCA had raised $100,000 of the needed $150,000.
Pledges from Coughlin Auto Group and two anonymous donors, among others, enabled the non-profit organization to raise the money.
"I'm not worried at all (about raising the remaining money)," said Edward Bohren, executive director of the Licking County Family YMCA. "This helps us build momentum to get that final $50,000 we need."
Bohren and other YMCA officials kicked off the fundraising campaign late last year.
The organization sought to raise the $150,000 to replace a damaged roof at the Western Branch's facility at 355 W. Broad St. In addition, it wanted to repave the facility's rough parking lot, install an air-conditioner in the Wellness Center and add some equipment.
YMCA representatives announced at a November public meeting that if they could not raise the money to make the needed improvements -- on rainy days, buckets catch water in parts of the Broad Street facility -- they would have to consider leaving Pataskala. They set June as the fundraising deadline.
Western Branch Program Director Dana Ruble credited an anonymous grant writer with helping the YMCA secure $24,000 of the $100,000 it has raised to this point.
The grant came from the Columbus Foundation, and the act of kindness touched Ruble.
"(The grant) didn't come from us," she said. "Someone actually did this -- and writing a grant is not easy. I'm speechless."
The YMCA filled a void when it first located in Pataskala in 2000. The organization initially operated out of a trailer on Ohio 310 and used area churches and other sites for programming space. It later moved to the former Jersey Elementary in Jersey Township before buying its current site on Broad Street, which had been a manufacturing facility. A family's pledge of $1 million enabled the move.
Membershipwise, the Western Branch has grown from catering to dozens in its infancy to more than 1,200 today.
The facility offers numerous youth and adult programs, in addition to a Day Camp, before- and after-school care and a spacious Wellness Center, filled with workout equipment.
YMCA leaders undertook a larger-scale fundraiser close to four years ago, with the idea of raising millions to completely renovate the Broad Street facility.
While that campaign stalled and the YMCA had to return the money it raised, Bohren expressed hope the new campaign will help the organization make the needed repairs at its Western Branch, enabling it to attract more members and offer more programs.
Ruble, meanwhile, said people do not have to donate money to contribute to the Western Branch's restoration effort. Materials or labor also would help, she said.
"We definitely still have needs, but I'm really excited to be two-thirds of the way (toward our fundraising goal)," Ruble said.
*Source: Chad Klimack, http://NewarkAdvocate.com