YWCA Buys Two Pottstown Properties in Expansion

The YWCA’s early childhood education program in its long-time King Street building (at top) will expand into the soon-to-be-purchased First Baptist Church

POTTSTOWN PA – The YWCA Tri-County Area expects to close later this month on the purchase of the second of two buildings in the borough – it has already taken ownership of the first – which will be used to expand its programming, the non-profit agency said Monday (Oct. 17, 2022).

YWCA Buys Two Pottstown Properties in Expansion
At the Integrated Wellness Complex after its purchase, former owner Chuck Gulati and the YWCA’s Kelly Grosser, Stacey Woodland, Elise Chesson

Awaiting real estate closing and deed transfer, the YWCA reported, is the purchase of First Baptist Church, 301 King St. In an earlier transaction that closed Sept. 26, the agency also bought the Integrated Wellness Complex, 724 N. Adams St. Prices paid for the properties were not disclosed.

Both were bought and will be rehabilitated with funds from the largest grant received by the non-profit organization in its 114-year history: a $5.5 million distribution from Montgomery County’s Recovery Office, under the American Rescue Plan act. The $161.3 million local recovery plan, which also included funding for many other agencies and municipalities, was approved in August by the county Board of Commissioners.

The complex “will continue to house partners such as the Pottstown YMCA, Tower Health, and other community organizations,” the YWCA added. Buying it provides additional space for youth programming, such as sports and aquatics, family and parent engagement, education, a DK (Dignity Kitchen) Café, and wellness programs for the entire community, according to the agency.

Buying the First Baptist Church enables expansion of early childhood and youth programming, after-school enrichment, community nutrition programs and the launch of a demonstration kitchen. Recent removal of blighted properties at 323 and 325 King Street, donated to YWCA in 2016, is expected to offer youth greater access to recreational green space.

YWCA Buys Two Pottstown Properties in Expansion
Newly cleared and reseeded recreational green space adjacent to the YWCA center (at left)

“As we continue our work to ensure healing-centered, trauma-responsive programming that innovates at the ‘speed of need,’ having the space to offer programs is central to achieving our mission,” YWCA CEO Stacey Woodland said.

Neither the YWCA or the church mentioned whether its congregation will remain in the building or relocate.

The complex “exponentially increases (the agency’s) ability to support the strengthening of the Pottstown community with sorely needed recreational sports and development programs for our youth,” Chief Mission Impact Officer Kelly Grosser noted. She added “the complex’s convenient location near Pottstown’s middle and high schools will reduce barriers for youth participation.”

Overall, the YWCA said it anticipates existing and future plans will improve “the community’s access to healthy food and nutrition education,” and expand “trauma-responsive, affordable programming in early childhood education, youth empowerment, sports and recreation,” before- and after-school activities, and summer camps “for residents of all demographics.”

The agency also hopes the county’s grant decision will motivate other contributors. “We invite stakeholders to help us leverage these funds and propel change,” Chief Advancement Officer Elise Chesson observed.

Photo provided by the YWCA Tri-County Area