Republic Bank YMCA fulfills promises to Louisville community in unprecedented first year

By Rachel Nix, Building Kentucky

The first year for the Republic Bank Foundation YMCA was drastically different than anticipated, but the state-of-the-art facility still delivered on many vital services its west Louisville community needed.

The new Y promised to reduce barriers, utilize collaborative partnerships, and deliver equitable access to wellness services when it opened in December 2019. The $33.5 million, 77,500 square-foot facility was one of the first major investments in the west Louisville neighborhood in several decades and opened to a flurry of excitement and activity. That quickly changed when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Republic Bank Foundation YMCA in West Louisville
Inside the Republic Bank Foundation YMCA looking out on west Louisville. (Courtesy Luckett & Farley)

The First Year

The Republic Bank Foundation YMCA’s modern design, by Luckett & Farley, set it up for success, creating the ability to adapt and continue serving the community. Multi-functional spaces allowed the Y to shift to providing much-needed full-day childcare services to essential workers through the early pandemic shutdown.

More recently, in collaboration with Norton Healthcare, a drive-through COVID-19 testing site opened to serve a critically vulnerable geographic area. The Best Buy Teen Tech Center doubles as an NTI learning lab to support academic success while schools remain closed.

Now as the Y gets back to health and wellness services and youth programming, open-concept spaces along with wide hallways and lobby areas allow for proper social distancing and ease of maintaining rigorous cleaning to keep our community safe and healthy.

What Leaders Are Saying

“We knew from the beginning that the partnerships within the Republic Bank Foundation YMCA would bring much-needed services to west Louisville, but we couldn’t have known how important that commitment to collaboration would be during a pandemic,” said YMCA of Greater Louisville President/CEO Steve Tarver. “We are grateful for the shared vision of health equity and community integrated health, ensuring our ability to have a meaningful impact in the lives of so many, now and in the future.”

“All of the partners in the Republic Bank Foundation YMCA made a commitment to west Louisville when we opened this facility,” said Republic Bank Chairman and CEO Steve Trager. “While the pandemic quickly changed how we would deliver on our commitment, being able to continue providing financial literacy support through alternative means throughout the year was really important to us. Community partnerships and some creativity helped us deliver this important information and we look forward to doing more when we can get together safely in person at the YMCA.”

“The Republic Bank YMCA quickly became a hub to gather, learn and be well. Its sustainable design was able to shift to the needs of the community during the pandemic,” said Luckett & Farley President and CEO Aric Andrew. “This a part of a great campus that will soon include a new JCPS elementary school to meet the current and future needs of the west Louisville community in good times and in difficult ones.”

YMCA’s Continuing Support

Conversations with the community during the development of the Y provided valuable input for intentional design and building the ideal community hub. Neighbors wanted an inviting place, reflecting the community’s history and supporting key health and wellness programs in a historically underserved area.

The Y and its partners Republic BankNorton HealthcareProRehabFamily & Children’s PlaceBest BuyGilda’s Club and Kentucky African-Americans Against Cancer (KAAAC) worked throughout 2020 to maximize their collaborations to provide equitable benefits to west Louisville. Even during the early days of the shut-down, partners were able to continue services, ensuring critical physical, emotional, and economic resources remained available to area residents.

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