In 1902, a group of interested businessmen formed the first YMCA in Belvidere and Boone County. This building and site were donated by Mr. & Mrs. A.W. Avery and turned over to the YMCA board of directors, under its first president, Mr. A.W. Fassett. Mr. John "Heinie" Harkless served as general secretary from 1915 until 1955.
The original building, at the corner of Locust and State streets, included swimming and gymnasium facilities - extensive features for a community this size.
In 1966, a strong organization of community citizens banded together and raised more than $700,000 for a new building. In February 1968, a modern new facility, including a swimming pool, gymnasium, locker and shower rooms, weight room, meeting rooms, game and club rooms, craft room, teen center and administration offices, was dedicated.
Renovations to the facility were completed in 1999. The $1.3 million project included new mechanical systems, cosmetic updating, space reallocations and the expansion of the fitness center.
The Belvidere Family YMCA has adapted to meet the changing needs of Boone County for many years. All ages, races, abilities and income levels are served. No membership is ever denied because of inability to pay.
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