Vacant since 2012, the historic Lyric Theater in downtown Kansas City, Mo., is the new home of the Kirk Family YMCA. The recently opened facility includes the 20,000-square-foot former theater, as well as a 42,000-square-foot addition and outdoor space for events and youth sports behind the building. To uphold its history—as well as its classic look—the façade and lobby, including original marble floors and ceiling finishes, were preserved and serve as the stunning entrance to the facility.
Named after Phil Kirk, visionary for the revitalization of downtown Kansas City and leader for many of its initiatives, the new facility will serve as the first full-service YMCA in downtown in more than 30 years. For decades, the Dunn family worked alongside Kirk and the Downtown Council to drive change in Kansas City, growing the YMCA along the way. “The YMCA is near and dear to my family,” said Bob Dunn, Senior Vice President of Community Affairs for JE Dunn. “Phil and Steve Dunn served on the Downtown Council together. Phil and the DST associates were some of the most generous people the Dunns, JE Dunn associates, and many others had ever met, and they paved the way for rapid redevelopment of Downtown KCMO. They have been longtime generous supporters of the YMCA, including this new Downtown YMCA that JE Dunn had the honor of renovating.”
The connection between the Dunns and Kirks goes beyond simply building the facilities or raising philanthropic support; hands-on community service is extremely important for both families as well. “My brother Bill, Jr. has served on the YMCA Board for several decades, and he, my father, Phil Kirk, and Fred Ball were instrumental in raising the funds necessary to build a Y in western Wyandotte County,” said Dunn. “Phil Kirk was the most honest and ethical person that we ever did business with, and his legacy will live on in these facilities as well as in the future development of downtown. In 2002, the Downtown Council gave an award to Phil Kirk in honor and recognition for the positive impact he had on Downtown through his work with DST. The Downtown Council decided to name this award after Phil, and give it annually to someone who also had a positive impact on downtown, including my father, William Dunn, Sr. in 2010.”
At JE Dunn, we are proud to have partnered with visionary leaders like Phil Kirk to build a better Kansas City.
The downtown YMCA opened to summer campers ages 5-12 in May and opened to the public on Oct. 11.