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      Marquette YMCA seeing big changes

      The YMCA of Marquette County received a rural development loan for $2,997,000. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow made the announcement Wednesday morning. The loan comes through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, and the "Y" will use the money for a massive expansion project.

      The YMCA of Marquette County will look very different by next summer. YMCA officials plan to use the nearly three million dollar loan to double the size of the wellness center."Folks who come and visit us will have much more space to work out, kids will have many more activities. We'll be able to work more with individuals for health and wellness to get healthy," said C.E.O. Lisa Coombs-Gerou.Renovations will improve the safety and security in the lobby and pool."The area out here will be all gymnastics," Coombs-Gerou explained, talking about the current gymnasium.The main focus is on the gym space. The current gym will be converted to a gymnastics area and will have a 50-foot bouldering wall installed for kids and adults. Two completely new gyms with bleachers will be built on the west end. The loan will also be used to purchase new equipment, like treadmills and weights. Many regulars are excited about a bigger and better "Y.""I think it'll be great. I love coming to the "Y" to work out. It's a great place and a great gym, and I think it will be even better with an expansion, so I'm excited," said Marquette Senior High School student, Gwen Hoenke.Coombs-Gerou says it took months to apply for the loan and years to compile the project details. Construction and renovations are expected to be completed by this time next year. "We're just excited to be able to provide this to the community," Coombs-Gerous said.Work on the facilities will start in about a month.