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Latest Update (with Photos) About Construction of New Y at Mahackeno

Turner Construction Co. knows a thing or two about getting a building site up and running. The same firm that in recent years has helped give our community a new high school, middle school and senior center, among other local projects, is now hard at work bringing the new Westport Weston Family Y up out of the ground at the Y’s 32-acre Mahackeno campus just north of downtown.

A view of the building site of the new Family Y at Mahackeno, looking west. This view shows work crews on what will be the parking lot processing excavated material to be re-used on-site

Officials from Turner received the official Building Permit from the Town of Westport on February 25, which will allow them to proceed with construction of the 54,000 sq. ft. Y facility, due to open in late 2014.

Over the past three weeks Turner’s work crews have established what amounts to an on-site processing plant that will turn the majority of what is excavated from the site – from the topsoil to the river-run rock and gravel – into construction-grade material to be reused in the construction of the building and adjacent parking area. The result is a savings in cost and time, as well as a significant reduction in construction traffic to and from the site.

“Our goal is to have what we call a ‘balanced site,’” says Erik Melingonis, site superintendent for Turner. “We want to re-use virtually all of the material on-site and avoid the ‘haul-off, haul-in’ traffic common to other construction projects. To that end, Mahackeno is almost an ideal situation.”

With much of the building site already cleared of trees, stumps and brush, building excavation has begun. Heavy-duty bulldozers, dump trucks and excavators feed a gargantuan machine that screens the dirt and crushes the loose rock into specific sizes of gravel that will be used as fill for the foundation, parking lot and roadways.

To augment the erosion controls already in place, work crews are constructing temporary sediment traps in two areas of the building site. Basically, these are large pits surrounded by berms of dirt and gravel that will serve as reservoirs to prevent run-off of storm water from the building site into nearby Poplar Plains Brook, which feeds into the Saugatuck River.

Melingonis reports that the construction work is on schedule.  “We didn’t slow down with the snow and used the recent rain to our advantage to keep dust down during the demolition of the two camp structures and two Y-owned houses along Sunny Lane.”

The Building Permit “is the last major piece of permitting we needed to obtain from the Town,” said Bonnie Strittmatter, President of the Y’s volunteer Board of Directors. “Soon we will see our new home for the Family Y rising out of the ground – we are finally on our way!”

The Y’s “Building What Matters” campaign leaders are continuing their efforts to reach out to local foundations, businesses and individuals with the means to make a significant investment in the Family Y’s future. A more public, grass-roots phase of the capital campaign was launched in early 2013.

Called “Picture Yourself at the New Family Y,” the innovative fundraising project involves the creation of a large wall mural at the new facility to be composed of thousands of individual photographs of Y members and supporters.

For a tax-deductible contribution of $100 per photo to the Y’s campaign, donors will be able to include a favorite photo or photos in a mosaic of “The Westport-Weston YMCA,” a watercolor by artist Kassie Foss of the Bedford Building, home of the Family Y since 1923.

The interactive online project may be found at, where contributors will also be able to locate their photos, as well as search for those of friends and neighbors.

For more information about the Family Y’s campaign to Build What Matters, please contact Rob Reeves, Chief Executive Officer, at 203-226-8981, ext.131, or email