Indianapolis YMCA to open first facility for veterans in U.S.

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis is preparing to open a new facility that will be the first in the U.S. to offer special services and dedicated space for veterans.

The OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA is expected to open on the northwest side of the city in 2018, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The facility will offer physical and occupational therapy provided by staff of the Richard Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center, as well as pain management and other counseling services. Additionally, there will be classes geared toward veterans.

Eric Ellsworth, president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, said the group believes it's a model that could be replicated across the nation.

According to former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, a Marine Corps veteran and a fan of the project, most veterans feel most comfortable surrounded by others who have served, due to the unique challenges they faced while serving.

"When you're in the military, it's all in, it's a lifestyle. When you leave . you're coming into really a different type of world, and sometimes you need a little bit of coaching, a little bit of help," Ballard said

He said he believes the initiative is good because it serves as a "one-stop shop."

The cost of the facility will be $16 million to $17 million and will include a pool, a full-size gymnasium and a health and wellness center with cardiovascular equipment.

The Indianapolis YMCA serves about 120,000 veterans who live in the area.

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