New Britain-Berlin YMCA celebrates health center renovations

By Ciara Hooks, New Britain Herald

NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain-Berlin YMCA hosted the grand opening of the Don Davis Men’s Health Center Monday to unveil the renovations and upgrades done to the original center.

“The Men’s Health Club is our upgraded locker room,” said Marci Moskal, branch director at the New Britain YMCA. “It originally started when we had a booming business in New Britain and it was a place where they could network and kind of do business within the YMCA.”

The center offers an array of individual lockers assigned to members so they can keep their things there and not have to lug them back and forth.

“The men’s center is at their disposal whenever they want to use it; some members come three times a day, some members come once a week,” said John Benigni, CEO of the Meriden, New Britain and Berlin YMCAs.

The showers and bathroom areas had a complete overhaul from their original dilapidated state.

“The tile and the shower area were all original to the building in the early 50s,” said Moskal.

And there are added features like the towel and laundry service.

“So at the end of the day when they’re done with their workout they throw their bag in the laundry bin and we make sure it’s clean for them the next day,” said Moskal.

The members can also enjoy a wet and dry sauna, kitchen, coffee, a computer lab and three different lounge spaces where they indulge in social hour, playing cards, unwind and relax.

“It really is a club atmosphere and that’s what we were going for a social setting for our members to socialize, make new friends and reconnect with old ones,” said Benigni.

“I’ve seen generations come through here,” said Gerry Amodio, executive director at the New Britain Downtown District and a member of the Men’s Health Center since he was 13 years old. “My friend Fenmore Feigenbaum who’s 93 was a CB (United States Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the NavySeabees) in WWII and we had a little guy who used to be here and one day we’re in the steam room talking and I said you (other guy) must have been in WWII? He said, ‘yeah I was in every significant battle in WWII and Pacific theater.’ He was a gunnery sergeant. Turns out Fenmore as a CB was bringing ammunition to the islands where this guy was fighting. They served on the same island at the same time and never knew each other.”

The center brings everyone together and staff hopes the remodel will attract new members as well.

“I’ve just been reminded that I’ve been a member for 49 almost 50 years,” laughed Joe Cisz. “But I think this is outstanding. The best renovations I’ve seen, it’s very professionally done.”

Renovations were done in a month, Moskal told the Herald.

“All the big stuff got done within the first two weeks, the carpet, the proxy and painting. Then the next two weeks was finding all the art work, the furniture and (old) photos,” said Moskal. “We have an archive of pictures so we dug out a bunch and went through some of the things they had back in the day and it’s just nice for the members to see where we were and where we are now.”

“We had a little campaign and raised $15,000 of membership gifts and invested it back into the facility,” said Benigni.

The Y chipped in, as well; it was a joint effort, Moskal told the Herald.

The Men’s Health Center was named in honor of Don Davis.

“He was the president of Stanley Works and was very involved in the community,” said Joan Goodman, YMCA’s membership and marketing director. “Don was very integral to the success of the Y and instrumental in getting the original health center built. He was a very beloved community member.”

Click on the photo below to see our Health Center Ribbon Cutting Photo Album.


2019 New Britain YMCA Health Center Grand Opening

Contact the New Britain - Berlin YMCA ›