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Westport Y's new Mahackeno home to open Aug. 29

The Westport Weston Family Y's new, $38.5 Mahackeno home will open Friday, Aug. 29, Y officials announced this week.

The new building off Wilton Road will be open to members only on the first day. But for the next three days -- Labor Day weekend -- the 54,000-square foot, multi-use center will be open to the public free of charge.

"Having served the community for the past 90 years at our original location in downtown Westport, at long last we are poised to begin the next chapter in our Y's history in our modern new home," Rob Reeves, the Y's chief executive officer, said in a news release.

The opening culminates years of planning and fundraising that was punctuated by political skirmishes and lawsuits over the new Y's location.

Y officials have scheduled a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Thursday evening, Aug. 28. State and local civic leaders and public officials are expected to attend, the Y said.

Eighteen months after work began, Turner Construction Co. of Bridgeport, the general contractor, is putting the finishing touches on the new headquarters ahead of schedule, according to the news release.

Built along the Saugatuck River on the Y's Mahackeno summer-camp property, the new Y will be named the Bedford Family Center in honor of the Y's founder, E.T. Bedford, and the continuing support of the Y by his descendants, the Y said.

The complex will include a 10-lane, 25-yard lap pool and adjacent warm-water family/teaching/therapeutic pool; a 5,600-square-foot wellness center with expansive views of the Saugatuck River and wooded Mahackeno grounds; multi-purpose gymnasium; three group-fitness studios; Y Kids' Club child-watch area; a cafe for members; five locker rooms, including one for those with dependent care, and other amenities.

The Y has agreed to sell its downtown home at 59 Post Road East, including its signature Bedford Building, to local developer David Waldman and partners. It will be incorporated in a commercial and residential development called Bedford Square.

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