By Alex Lippa
---- — PLAISTOW — The YMCA will soon be part of the Plaistow community.
The YMCA has purchased the 55,000-square-foot Rockingham Athletic Club at 175 Plaistow Road and is in the process of renovating it.
“We’re extremely excited to bring the YMCA to Plaistow,” said Tracy Fuller, executive director of the Haverhill YMCA. “We hope to reach out to the community soon and see what they want in the facility.”
Some YMCA programs, including a peewee basketball league and certain fitness classes, are being offered at the Rockingham Athletic Club now. By next week, it will officially become a full YMCA.
“We just have a few things we need to do before it becomes official,” Fuller said.
The Plaistow YMCA will be under the umbrella of the North Shore YMCA, she said, and will have a close relationship with the Haverhill YMCA.
“We have a lot of people that come to use the YMCA from Plaistow,” Fuller said. “We can have a nice relationship and share a lot of resources.”
Plaistow Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said the YMCA will be a great addition to town.
“We just couldn’t be happier,” he said. “This will be an incredibly important investment for Plaistow and the region. YMCAs work very closely with communities and they embody the best of what we have to offer as a community.”
Fitzgerald said he hopes tthe YMCA can provide something Plaistow doesn’t have.
“We are one of only two communities in New Hampshire that does not have a large body of water,” Fitzgerald said. “If they could perhaps build a pool, which we could use for recreational swimming, then that can be a unique opportunity.”
Fuller said a swimming pool would be well into the future.
“It’s part of the long-term plan,” she said, “but we want to see what the community wants.”
Fitzgerald said he hoped the town would develop a positive relationship with the YMCA.
“We can develop many synergies and Plaistow will be better and stronger as a result of this,” he said. “This is a place our children, seniors and more can enjoy.”
The closest YMCAs are in Haverhill, Londonderry and Exeter. The Exeter YMCA offers an after-school program for Pollard School students.
“I hope they will continue to run that,” Fitzgerald said. “They do an excellent job.”