Crews Setting up to Bring Down Old YMCA

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DES MOINES, Iowa — The countdown is on to say goodbye to a local landmark in downtown Des Moines.  Demolition crews are working around the clock at the site of the old Riverfront YMCA.

Around 7:15 AM Sunday, the more than half a century old building will be reduced to a pile of rubble.

“Eighteen seconds, it will be on the ground,” said Dave Zinser with D.W. Zinser Company.

His crew will use about 125 pounds of explosives to bring down the 8-story building.  Setup for the implosion takes about two weeks.  Workers have already drilled about 300 holes for the explosives and are in the process of putting up protective fabric to control the blast.

“There’s no practice. It’s a calculated risk and it’s timed out. There’s delayed sequence with the explosives and it will fold in on itself an that will be it,” said Zinser.

“There’s a lot of memories there. The nice thing about memories is, you can bring them with you,” said Tim Short, Executive Director of the Wellmark YMCA.

Before that, Short was executive director at Riverfront.  The old Y has a rich history in the community.  It was the first unified Y to welcome other races and women through its doors.

“We are bringing some of the heritage and legacy of the Riverfront YMCA over here to help continue on the work that was being down at Riverfront,” Short explained.

Zinser says police will set up a perimeter stretching several hundred feet around the implosion site and the viewing area will be at City Hall.   He expects his 3-year-old grandson will press the button to set off the implosion.

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