Calling it one of the most exciting community projects to happen in his lifetime, a local business leader recently gave a landmark donation to the Alexandria area YMCA.
Alexandria resident and owner of Pete's County Market Maynard "Bud" Peterson has donated $1.5 million to the new YMCA in honor of his wife, Sylvia Peterson, who died in 2003.
YMCA officials said they are hoping the generous gift will inspire others to donate to the project as well.
With roughly two-and-a-half weeks left in their year-long fundraising drive, organizers must still raise $2.4 million, almost $100,000 per day.
In recognition of Peterson's contribution, the two-story, 56,000 square-foot building will be named the "Maynard 'Bud' and Sylvia Peterson Program Center."
"I am pleased to be a part of this extraordinary effort," Peterson said. "I hope this can be an encouragement for even more donors to help put us over the top."
Included in the contribution is a $600,000 match challenge, meaning Peterson will match "dollar for dollar" the total money donated by the entire community, up to $600,000.
Another Alexandria family has offered a $500,000 match challenge for donations received until December 15.
"There is never a better time to give, with basically a two-for-one match going on," said Jeff Bartholomew, YMCA executive director.
With Peterson's gift, YMCA officials have so far raised more than $6.5 million of the $8.9 million needed for the proposed facility.
David Kjos, campaign co-chairman, said about 100 donors - organizations and individuals such as Peterson - have contributed the bulk of that money through large single donations.
"Bud's support for this project is truly inspiring," he said. "In keeping with the spirit of the YMCA being for the entire community, I'd like to see the final $2 million come from the broader community.
"It would be great if we could see more than 500 donor names on our donor wall."
Set to be built on County Road 82 across from Tastefully Simple, Inc., the YMCA will boast a gym, a fitness center, multi-use pool facilities and an indoor track.
It will also host an affordable on-site day-care center, Young People's Place, capable of handling 190 kids.
The project is scheduled to break ground this fall, with construction expected to be completed by fall 2009.
To contribute, contact Jeff Bartholomew at (320) 763-9621.