Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

By Terri Harber


The Family YMCA of Baker County has agreed to purchase the building that used to be the site of Wilson's Food Town.

Relocating to the 15,600-square-foot building in the 3500 block of Pocahontas Road will be the fitness center, preschool and youth program.

The fitness center and preschool will move there next summer, said Heidi Dalton, interim CEO of the local organization. The lease for the fitness center on Main Street expires at that time.

"This is a big transition for the Y," she said. "We've been looking at owning our own facility for 10 years."

The announcement was made Thursday afternoon. Members of the organization's board of directors unanimously approved the purchase agreement for the Pocahontas Road site afterlooking at a variety of other locations. It was the most suitable location, Dalton said.

The YMCA plans to continue leasing the gym space at Second and Church streets because it will take time to build a new gym. Additional land behind the building, donated to the organization by Dick and Marge Haynes, will provide space for future expansion.

Asking price for the building on Pocahontas Road is $350,000. The agreement between the YMCA and Dick Haynes Trading LLC, while subject to approval, should clear in November.

"It's a great reuse for an existing building," Dalton said. "A very sustainable, affordable solution."

The Main Street building is a historic commercial structure and was closed briefly several months ago to shore up its structural integrity. The floor plan was revised to allow for the building's age. Stationary spinning cycles were moved to the basement from the upper floor when the work was completed, for example.

With relocation to Pocahontas Road comes close proximity to athletic fields at the Sports Complex. Local government officials are looking at how to make anticipated routes to and from the Pocahontas location safer for young people.

Wilson's closed last year.

Sam-O Swim Center will remain at 580 Baker St.

Dalton also pointed out that the Family YMCA of Baker County will mark its 40th year in December and that the building purchase "marks a major milestone" in the organization's history.

Residents interested in helping the YMCA make a smooth transition from downtown to Pocahontas Road may email heidi.dalton@bakerymca.org or call 541-406-0810.