Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Celebrates Opening of Innovative New Mary Free Bed YMCA

December 3, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – December 3, 2015
The Mary Free Bed YMCA is the first health and wellness facility in the world specifically designed to equally serve all individuals regardless of ability.  An inaugural lap around the new indoor track was made by community members of all ages and abilities during the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony hosted today by the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids.

“Today’s celebration culminates years of commitment by dedicated volunteers, staff and community leaders. This pioneering new environment, based on Universal Design, enables people of all abilities to experience a fully accessible, health and wellness facility,” said Ron Nelson, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids. “An extraordinary amount of work has gone into the development of this unique building, and we can’t wait to share it with West Michigan.”

Watch Video of Ground breaking and Tour of the facilities

In addition to Nelson and other Y leaders, several notable speakers participated in the dedication of the new facility, including State of Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, Burton Blatt Institute Chairman Peter Blanck, Mary Free Bed Guild President Kim Ridings and Carol Van Andel, Executive Director of the David and Carol Van Andel Family Foundation.

“As part of our 125th anniversary, the Mary Free Bed Guild is honored to collaborate with the Y for the benefit of our patients, athletes and the greater community,” said Kim Ridings, Guild President. “It has long been our dream to have a facility where people with disabilities could exercise and play side-by-side with their able-bodied friends and family members. This amazing building will be home to our Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports program and we’ll also provide outpatient therapy here.”

This 116,200 square foot, $31 million facility is situated on a 36-acre campus on the southwest corner of Kraft and Burton, S.E.  The LEED-Certified and fully accessible facility includes 2 ½ gymnasiums, 2 pools, 2 group fitness and indoor cycling studios, an indoor track, climbing wall, state-of-the-art fitness equipment, wheelchair softball field, tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, a greenhouse, teaching kitchen, learning farm, and access to the Rapid Bus line.

A community open house will be held on Saturday, December 5 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., and the Mary Free Bed YMCA will be open for business on Monday, December 7 at 5:00 a.m.  For additional information, visit