While the ceremonial demolition was a next step toward the YMCA, Dobbe said construction won’t start until the building is fully funded. He said the preliminary number the committee is looking at is around $7 million, which he thinks they can raise in the next year and a half between fundraisers, matching donations and grant money. That would mean construction starts around 2020.
Even with construction not scheduled to start for another couple years, Dobbe said it was important for the project and the community to start taking down the motel.
“We have all the ingredients to get our funding in full swing,” he said. “Let’s start by taking a section out of this building and showing we’re for real.”
The rest of the motel is expected to be demolished on June 15, when the committee will host another public event to watch it being taken down. Dobbe said so far five people have pledged $700 each to drive a construction vehicle at the June 15 event.
The pool committee purchased the 2.8-acre property for $800,000 in 2013, shortly after the motel shut down. It was technically still in use up until late April, as West Coast Training used the site as housing for students in its program, which teaches those looking to start a career in outdoor construction.
When the crew opened up enough of the motel on Wednesday, kids in the crowd laughed while pointing out mattresses and chairs in the rubble.
When the 30,000-square-foot Woodland YMCA is open, the pool committee will transfer the land to the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette, which will operate the facility and own the property. Dobbe said the building will have the same amenities as the Clark County Family YMCA in Vancouver with one notable exception, especially given the organizing group’s name: a pool.
In November, more than 53 percent of voters in Woodland came out against a measure to let the Woodland Swimming Pool and Recreation District use nearly $8 million in bond money to build the pool and recreation facility. Dobbe said the committee is still determined to bring a pool to Woodland. He owns nearly an acre of adjoining property to the Lakeside Motel property, and said once the YMCA project is fully funded, he will donate the property to the YMCA to build a pool there.
“It’s going to happen,” Dobbe said. “That’s what (Wednesday night) was all about. This is a step. This is going to change the area forever.”