Gum company to become YMCA

April 13, 2011 3:45:22 PM PDT
In Havertown, Delaware County, they're tearing down a landmark, so they can build the future.

The home of the Philadelphia Chewing Gum Company, which opened in 1948, is being torn down to make way for a state of the art YMCA.

Since it closed 8 years ago, the building on Eagle Road has sat empty.

The YMCA of Philadelphia and Vicinity decided to spend $20-million to demolish it and build a $70,000 square foot Y, equipped with swimming pools and exercise equipment.

"We used to go to the Rocky Run Y on Route 1 so I've seen it inside and outside and knowing that it's going to be in the township now where I live, it's going to be amazing," resident Danielle Verdes said.

The old Chewing Gum Company was a big part of the community for decades. Those who worked there and helped make the small balls of candy say the demolition is bittersweet, but it's time to move on.

Barbara Macdonald spent 22 years working for Philadelphia Gum.

"Everyone you would speak to, at one time or another, they worked at Philly Gum," she said.

The new Y will serve 20,000 people and create 150 jobs.

Haverford Township commissioners believe it will benefit the local economy and the children.

"It gives them a place to go, a lot of times the kids go up to Manoa Shopping Center and they'll hang on the corners," Haverford Township Commissioner James McGarrity said.

The new YMCA is expected to open in September of 2013.