Old YMCA downtown is making progressPublished 7:50pm Saturday, December 15, 2012
One of Broad Street’s largest and most historic buildings, the old YMCA, has been going under extensive repair and renovation with a large thanks to the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society.allied
“Lovelady Construction is working diligently on the building,” said Nancy Bennett, president of the preservation society.
Bennett said bracing has been put behind the building and the Swift Drugstore building as a precautionary measure.
“They are working to clean out the part [of the building] that had fallen in and they have to get some other things done before they can finish cleaning it out,” she said.
Although the building won’t be restored to exactly what it used to be, Bennett said she hopes the first floor can function as a retail area while the upstairs could serve as loft apartments.
“As far as the preservation society is concerned, we would like to stabilize the building and then begin to look for someone who would be interested in purchasing the building and putting it back in to productive use,” Bennett said.
The building was built in 1886 and is the oldest YMCA in the state and oldest surviving Y in the South. Its only rival, Atlanta’s oldest Y, was built the same year but destroyed in 1970.
Through the years, the building has served as a post in World War II, a popular delicatessen and a home for underprivileged boys.
Bennett said with such rich history, it would be a shame to see the building torn down and turned in to a parking lot or empty space.
“I would think being across from city hall and on Broad Street, it will offer tremendous possibilities for retail space,” she said. “It’s such a pivotal building in the downtown area.”
Bennett said she expects construction to be completed within a couple of months and any donations for the restoration will gladly be accepted.
“We have had several fundraisers and we would welcome any and all donations that people would like to give to the historical society for this project,” she said. “It’s a project of major magnitude and it’s not an inexpensive project.”
All donations are tax deductable, Bennett said, and those donations can be sent to P.O. Box 586.