West Ridge YMCA receives $3.75 million in U.S. funds for renovations, possible reopening


The High Ridge YMCA has been closed due to staff shortages since January 2021, but it’s been used to house migrants sent to Illinois from Texas. Federal funds will go toward renovating the facility.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The High Ridge YMCA closed in January 2021 due to economic stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) has announced that the YMCA, at 2424 W. Touhy Ave., will receive $3.75 million for renovations.

“The High Ridge YMCA is a place for seniors, children and everyone in between to come together, learn, play and engage with the community,” Schakowsky said in a statement.

Since the facility’s closure, it has been serving as a temporary shelter for migrants bused to Chicago from Texas since September 2022.

The building will be used as a shelter “for the duration of the humanitarian emergency,” a YMCA of Metro Chicago spokesperson said.

However, the funding provided is not intended to be used to assist migrants.

“The federal funding secured by Congresswoman Schakowsky for the High Ridge YMCA is separate from the funding that supports our capacity to provide sheltering services and care for the new arrivals,” a YMCA of Metro Chicago spokesperson said.

The funding would specifically help with renovations needed to reopen the center. Roof repairs, heating and air conditioning replacement, a new sprinkler system, and other improvements are among the needed upgrades.

YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago officials say the organization is working on a long-term plan for the building.

“Y leadership continues dialogue with the High Ridge Coalition, including members of the West Ridge community and public officials,” said a YMCA of Metro Chicago spokesperson. “While there is still a lot of work to be done on the site, the Y is optimistic for its future, and we look forward to working with the community, local partners and leaders, and our staff to develop a plan for the High Ridge YMCA.”

“I am ecstatic that I was able to secure funds to help bring the High Ridge YMCA back to life,” Schakowsky said. “I look forward to visiting the site once it reopens.”

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