Brightview Rolling Hills and the YMCA

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Brightview Rolling Hills and the YMCA

Rachel Thomas and Sarah Neumann

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As many community members have observed, there has been a lot of destruction and construction next to the Rolling Road Branch of the YMCA. There are two reasons for all of this activity: the Brightview senior living center, which is being built on land purchased from the YMCA, and the YMCA renovation/expansion.

Many may also know that people have voiced strong opinions for and against the renovations, and there has been much local concern about the removal of trees that each project requires.

Brightview Senior Living Center

This facility is going to be a senior living center called Brightview Rolling Hills which, according to executive director of the new Brightview Rolling Hills location, Deanna Lawrence, will meet a need in the Catonsville community.

Many aren’t happy about the construction because they feel its making the land look unappealing, and some locals believe that it’s the YMCA cutting down the trees.

Ms. Lawrence explained “in order to cut the trees, the company went through a series of design and permits, and will replace the trees that were removed because they want to have an eco-friendly environment”. This means that the facility, in addition to replacing the trees, will have energy efficient lighting and appliances. There will be recycling, air and water preservation, and low emission materials; the facility will also be a no-smoking building.

The senior living center has been planned to be a safe place to live and blend well with the overall flow of Catonsville. It will contain a courtyard, fire pits, a gazebo, a theatre, and dining rooms. There will be both independent and dependent living facilities. The independent living facility is for those who are able to live by themselves; the dependent living facility is for those who need a bit more help and can’t live entirely on their own. Consisting of apartments, each living area will be made to fit the needs of members.

“The Brightview senior living community has had a very close relationship with the YMCA during their construction,” Lawrence explained. The YMCA is doing some remodeling to their building, and both facilities are next to each other. The Brightview community sees the Y as an association that they can partner up with in different programs that will benefit the residents of Brightview. This will allow the residents to be able to have a nearby facility to keep in shape, have fun, and have various activities to do with their visiting families.

Brightview feels that they can also be beneficial to the adults and students of the Catonsville community. After the new facility is built students, from Catonsville High or CCBC, will have the opportunity to volunteer at the center which is convenient because the facility is so close to both schools. Not only is the center a great way to earn service learning hours, it is also a great way for adults who are unemployed to get a paying job.

Overall the Brightview company is excited to be able to work with Catonsville residents. A trailer will be placed on the land soon so that families can make an appointment to get information on payment plans and deposits, and address other concerns.

The Brightview team also has a mission statement that they would like all of Catonsville to see. The mission statement is, “We are a team of people dedicated to creating vibrant senior living communities by providing excellent service to all of our customers”. This statement is a part of their goal to make a place for senior residents to have a lively environment.

Mrs. Lawrence said, “I don’t want residents to stop dreaming”.

YMCA Renovation/Expansion

What exactly is the YMCA changing and adding? YMCA branch supervisor Spencer Merrill and YMCA staff members are very excited for the new changes and shared what is going on.

The multi-purpose room is being converted into an adult locker room, and the fitness center is being expanded. In addition, the facility will be adding a rock climbing wall and adding more room to the lobby. All this activity is expected to be finished by the end of the year. In order to make room for these major renovations, trees needed to be cut down; for every tree that is being cut down, the YMCA will be planting two trees to compensate.

The YMCA assures everyone that the renovations will benefit the Catonsville Community. They will allow the public more activities to participate in and more workout space.

“The renovations should allow the YMCA in Catonsville to become as popular as the one in Howard County,” Merrill explained.

But does this make up for the trees and overall, curb appeal of our once beautiful Catonsville YMCA?

“It’s unnecessary, it’s a shame and it looks pretty ugly now,” junior Hannah Llorin explained. But she also believes that in the long run, “it will look better later, it was worth it.”

A benefit not only to the young people and adults, the YMCA renovations also benefit the senior citizens of the community. The building of the new senior living facility and their visiting families will have the luxury of being right next to a gym.  This will benefit the YMCA because they will gain new members and the new facility because it will encourage families to bring their loved ones to the new facility.

But will it hurt the current members at the YMCA? Most people are used to the first two weeks of the year the gym being rather calm and rarely very lively. But because the retired seniors are close by the gym, they will be there more often making the YMCA more crowded. For those who like a peaceful afternoon working out at the YMCA, this fact can be a turn-off.

On the other hand, those who don’t mind will expect to see the brand new YMCA and senior living center in approximately a year.