GARDEN CITY — After years of fundraising, construction delays and pending litigation, the Garden City Family YMCA’s Dome facility opened in late July with prayers, applause and pencils put to membership cards.
The space is now officially open to the public, operating under a temporary certificate of occupancy until a permanent license can go before the Garden City Commission, said YMCA CEO Chad Knight.
“This has been a long journey, let me tell you,” Knight told community members at the opening under the long-awaited dome. Memberships were available for a discount in honor of the event.
The Dome, a permanent, inflatable gym located on the Kenneth Henderson Middle School campus off Fleming Street, is a sizable facility comprised mostly of three multi-purpose courts, which can be used for basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis and pickleball, Knight said. Along the sidelines of the three courts sits a functional fitness area, including weights, exercise equipment and a Queenax machine, as well as a walking and running track.
A baseball and softball area, including batting cages, pitching mounds and a soft toss/batting tee space, will also be included, but not for several weeks, Knight said. Several of the project’s outdoor landscaping elements are also still underway.
The YMCA is selling bricks for a display in front of the facility as a fundraiser, Knight said. Locals can buy engraved bricks for $1,000 to raise money for the project, Knight said.
The Dome will be the main location for YMCA sports programs, leagues, tournaments and special events, and will host competitive youth leagues, sport specific training and functional fitness classes. All YMCA teams will practice and play their games at the Dome.
Stacy Castoe will serve as the Dome's operations director.
“We hope (the Dome) will be a multi-functional facility that’s open to everyone of all ages to really utilize all the amenities that it has to offer. That’s the goal. We want it to be a hotspot for kiddos,” Knight said.
The facility will be open to the public from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
The YMCA been investigating a breach of contract from Charter Matrix, the original manufacturer for the project, in December, inspecting the dome and submitting samples of its fabric to a lab soon after. In February, they announced a new dome manufacturer, Air Structures American Technologies Inc., or ASATI, would complete the project.
Lab results have since confirmed that Charter Matrix used a lesser-quality fabric, Knight said, and the YMCA, represented by Garden City attorney Richard Marquez, has filed litigation against Charter Matrix. The process is ongoing, he said.
“We’re still moving forward on that. Just investigating still, researching still,” Knight said. “It’s just a waiting game.”
He declined to elaborate.