Collaboration aims to create multi generational health and wellness campus

WAUSAU – During a scheduled news conference on Tuesday, community leaders and philanthropists announced plans for a $40 million health and wellness campus to be developed in downtown Wausau.

The plan involves broad support from local foundations, businesses and individuals, and includes three primary components:

  • Extensive modernization and expansion of the Woodson YMCA.
  • Construction of an activity center for adults 55 and older.
  • Development of a new Aspirus Clinic, which will be connected to the YMCA.

Chad Kane, president of the Woodson YMCA Foundation and WoodTrust Bank, described a vision in which Wausau residents of all ages could access beneficial programs and services when they are healthy, ill, or recovering.

“This is an innovative model for community wellness,” Kane said. “It expands and modernizes the YMCA’s popular facilities and services; adds a new center where older, active adults can engage in a range of physical, educational, social and recreational activities; and develops a new Aspirus clinic that connects health experts through programming and proximity.”

Project organizers have purchased properties to the north and west of the Woodson YMCA, and demolition and site clearing is underway. The final details of the downtown health and wellness campus have not been cemented, as organizers seek approval to re-route short sections of street, and the YMCA Foundation launches the public phase of its capital campaign.

One component of the project will allow for significant expansion of the daycare program. Woodson YMCA Executive Director Bryan Bailey said 54 new spots will be added, the majority of which will be dedicated to infant and toddler care. The facility currently offers daycare but has a waiting list for the youngest children that can be as long as a year or more, Bailey said.

YMCA Seeks Additional Donations

While the Senior Center and Aspirus Clinic components of the health and wellness campus are already fully funded, the YMCA modernization and expansion is still in need of public support.

The modernization project will enhance child care services, expand the gymnastics area, create a new wellness center that offers both cardio and strengthening activities, increase parking, and improve traffic flow within the existing facility. The total cost of the YMCA initiative is $19 million, and many foundations and individuals have already made generous commitments, organization officials said. To complete the fundraising and ensure that this project is fully realized, the Woodson YMCA Foundation this week launched a six-week public campaign called Strengthening the Heart of Our Community.

“The successful silent portion of the campaign has resulted in pledges totaling $16 million, yet additional community support from businesses and residents is needed to complete the full YMCA project,” Kane said. “I’m confident we can meet our total goal with the help of our Y members and other donors who support the Y’s strong commitment to enhancing the quality of life in our community.”

In the near future, YMCA leaders will share stories of the generous donors supporting the project. Online donations can be made at or checks made payable to the Woodson YMCA Foundation can be mailed to the Woodson YMCA, 707 Third Street, Wausau, WI 54403.

The Senior Center

One of the key new features of the downtown health and wellness campus will be a 15,000-square-foot activity center for adults 55 and older, directly connected to the Woodson YMCA. The center is being fully funded by a grant from the Dwight and Linda Davis Foundation.

“The strong commitment of the Y leadership to offer best-of-class, life-enrichment experiences for seniors, coupled with the Y’s longstanding success in its work, give us confidence that the community will be well-served by our investment,” said Dwight Davis, president of the foundation, in a statement. “The Davis Foundation is pleased to support this new vision for creating a wellness campus that serves all Wausau’s generations.”

New Aspirus Clinic

Aspirus is a strong supporter of the YMCA modernization and expansion project, and is predominantly funding a new field house with gymnasium, running track and viewing area.

“For years, we have collaborated closely with the YMCA because we believe in the excellent wellness and lifestyle services they provide to the community,” said Matthew Heywood, president and CEO of Aspirus. “As we discussed the expansion and modernization of the Woodson YMCA, it became clear that this community could do something truly innovative to benefit the health and wellness of everyone in the Wausau area.”

The Aspirus Board approved the construction of a new clinic, which will be located next to the Woodson YMCA and connected by a skywalk. The clinic will provide primary and walk-in care, as well as imaging and laboratory services. While the design has not yet been finalized, Heywood said the facility will be about 36,000 square feet and cost about $20 million to build.

More details about the Woodson YMCA’s modernization and expansion project are available at

All renderings courtesy of the Ghidorzi Companies:

8 replies on “YMCA, Aspirus announce $40 million downtown development”

  1. Very nice! that location needs a face lift. Its also good they are investing that much downtown especially on infrastructure…more tax money for the city to get their grubby hands on lol…

    1. “Noneprofits” are exempt from paying sales tax and property taxes. All the buildings that used to pay property taxes are bulldozed. The city will get few hundred thousands less in paying their growing debt.

  2. Three generations of my family have been Woodson YMCA members. And we will always be. So proud of this.

  3. Good news! Now the desperate housewives of the YMCA could be treated for their STD after a workout at the improved meet market.

  4. Since some of that land is empty and this creates a place to workout, basketball courts and volleyball courts for kids, adults, tournaments in winter… sure looks like a good move… more meeting rooms for the community. Access ti health care downtown… looks like a plus for Wausau and more chances for wellness.

  5. This is a joke! Has nothing to do with the YMCA and everything to do with healthcare competition. Just another shuttle to direct potential patients to Aspirus Hospital and Services (Real Money maker) instead of the competition. This is the perfect shuttle with high health related medical needs from injuries, pain … big list. The question, what will happen to all of these excessive useless tax deferred buildings once the healthcare systems self implodes?

  6. How does the Mayor and City Council plan on replacing the lost tax revenue for all of the buildings which have been torn down to make way for this project?

    Also, YMCA membership today costs a senior (62 years and up) $529.20. That’s a significant chunk of change when 32% of seniors in Wausau have less than $20k/year income. (cite: ACS)

  7. We also offer memberships through:
    It is the philosophy of the YMCA that no person be denied membership or program participation based on their ability to pay. Financial Assistance applications are available at Member Services.

    Available to those who don’t qualify for financial assistance, but cannot afford regular membership rates. This is an honesty policy and applications are available at Member Services.”

    Body, Mind, and Spirit

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