Contact: Kelly Vence


Public Information Office



ELIZABETH, NJ— June 11, 2013 — Earlier this morning, Mayor J. Christian Bollwage joined Senator Raymond Lesniak, Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, Freeholder Bruce Bergen, Esq., Freeholder Vernell Wright, YMCA Board Chair John Ludington, as well as the YMCA of Eastern Union County’s Board of Directors, at the Grand Re-Opening of the YMCA of Eastern Union County, Elizabeth Branch.

“These new renovations enable more assistance for our City’s residents, as well as increase services and improve the overall quality of life,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “Helping to meet the growing demand for housing and programs, this initiative positively impacts the Elizabeth community as well as the entire region.”

The YMCA, which is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization, has been known for helping communities learn, grow and thrive for the last 160 years. This particular YMCA, located at 135 Madison Avenue, was built in 1928.

With a need for additional single resident occupancies, this historical structure underwent a long awaited renovation. In April 2013, after eighteen months of hard work, the development was completed.

“Union County is proud to re-welcome one of the many successful YMCAs of the area,” said Senator Raymond Lesniak. “Through the enhancement of existing programming and the creation of new initiatives, we are confident this YMCA will continue to flourish.”

Approximately 7,000 people attend the YMCA of Eastern Union County’s Elizabeth Branch on a weekly basis. The majority of these individuals are residents from the City of Elizabeth. Although all programs are equally important, these residents gravitate toward the Health and Wellness aspect of the YMCA. Some of the most popular activities include personal training and Zumba classes.

The transformation included: sixty-seven (67) newly renovated single-resident units, as well as enhancements to the area that provides social service assistance to women and families; a new space that offers health and wellness programs, such as the bright and inviting teen center for the youth population and various multipurpose rooms that will focus on training and social service orientations.

“This is an exciting time for our YMCA and the local community,” said Bill Butler, Elizabeth Branch Executive Director. “We have a long history in the City of Elizabeth, and just as we made careful efforts to preserve the historic elements of our building as we renovated, we also are adding programs in a way that enhances existing services that the community enjoys.”

In honor of the grand re-opening, there is a special membership promotion for those who join before August 1, 2013. In addition, a free membership was also given to all seventh graders within the city, through the Elizabeth Office on Youth’s Building Future Leaders Program. Some of the membership features include: state-of-the-art cardio, strength and circuit training machines, free weights, wellness orientations, locker rooms and showers, an indoor basketball court and track, as well as group exercise programs.

Furthermore, while enhancing their existing programs, the YMCA created a new program called “Caring and Learning for Me.” This includes classes that support caregivers and their young children with early learning engagement, education and support for child development as they become “school ready.” This program is also free for members.

The $10,000,000 project was made possible through grant funding from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs; HOME funds from the County of Union as well as the City of Elizabeth; the Federal Home Loan Bank; Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the Housing and Urban Development Program. Multiple private foundations and individual funding sources also brought the project to fruition.

Hours for the YMCA’s Elizabeth Branch are as follows: Weekdays: 5:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. and Weekends: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

For information about the Elizabeth Branch YMCA, please visit their website at: or call 908-355-9622.