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Texans announce Houston Texans YMCA


An artist's rendering shows the future Houston Texans YMCA.

The Houston Texans and the Greater Houston YMCA announced a partnership to open a new YMCA facility in the Palm Center community of Third Ward. The facility, located at the corner of Griggs Rd. and Martin Luther King Blvd., will replace the old South Central YMCA.

The new Houston Texans YMCA will be the first YMCA facility in the country to be named after a professional sports team. The partnership combines two powerful and influential names to benefit the Greater Third Ward community by providing programs including health and wellness, child care, recreation and youth development.

"I have admired the work done by the YMCA since my childhood in North Carolina," said Texans founder and CEO Robert C. McNair, noting that he first learned about organized football as a nine-year old at a Charlotte YMCA. "We are proud to be able to support an organization that promotes health and family values, and it gives me great pleasure to give back to a group that gave so much to me as a child."

Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is another YMCA alumnus.

"I grew up right across the street from the M.D. Anderson YMCA," Kubiak said. "A lot of the things I learned in the sports world and growing up about how to be a good kid and how to be a good person really stem from my youth growing up there."

{QUOTE}On hand for the announcement of the historic partnership was Quentin Mease, who has worked with the Greater Houston YMCA since 1948. Mease was instrumental in the 1955 building of the South Central YMCA, and was one of the leading African-American figures in Houston during the turbulent 1960s.

"I was around when we opened South Central over there in 1955, so this is quite an achievement to have the building here now as its successor," Mease said. "We hope that it will live up to the … former Y branch there on Wheeler, and I'm sure that it will be quite an heirloom to the community."

In addition to being located a mere six miles from Reliant Stadium, the Houston Texans YMCA will be in close proximity to Third Ward schools, a library, a city bus stop, a new housing development and a new light rail route – making it far more accessible to area residents than the landlocked South Central YMCA on Wheeler St.

"This South Central YMCA has an incredible history and historical significance to it," Texans president Jamey Rootes said. "But as important as that history has been, I think the future is even brighter. We're incredibly proud to have an opportunity to work with such an important organization. It's such a natural fit, geographically and otherwise, for our organization to come and make a big difference in this community."

The new facility is the first and most visible result of a larger partnership between the Texans and the YMCA. With the Texans' stated goal of being the most community-connected professional sports franchise in the world, the team has selected the YMCA as its primary strategic community partner and will work with YMCA staff to develop programming to benefit the children and the community served by the facility. Construction of the new center is expected to begin later this year, with an anticipated opening in 2010.

"The level of commitment shown by the Houston Texans and owner Bob McNair will, for years to come, greatly improve the quality of life for so many Houstonians who chose to make this YMCA branch a part of their day," Mayor Bill White said. "The surrounding neighborhoods will benefit. For that we are grateful. We are proud of the work and the joy generated by the YMCA everyday."

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