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Coming in 2025



About the project

The YMCA of North Central Ohio plans to build a sports complex on land donated by Jim Gorman. The complex will have a fitness center, arcade, indoor soccer, volleyball, basketball, and pickleball courts, as well as outdoor soccer fields, an indoor walking track, and an outdoor walking trail.


It is expected to bring in more than $8 million in retail sales and taxes for Richland County and will host multi-state soccer tournaments while also serving as a sports training and competition facility for local children.


Construction is set to start in Summer 2024, with the complex opening in Fall 2025. The $22-million project will be funded through public and private donations, and announcements on funding progress, construction, and opening will be made periodically.




‘Growing Potatoes to Growing Young People’

Jim Gorman says community kindness reason
for YMCA Sports Complex land donation

Jim Gorman spent most of his life as an industrialist. As president of the Gorman-Rupp Co., he oversaw the worldwide manufacturing and sales of his company’s pump systems from his Mansfield and Bellville plants and plants around the world. In 2019, Gorman stepped down from the company’s board of directors after 73 years. But early in his life, Jim played a much different role. He was an Army Air Corps pilot during World War II, serving in New Guinea. And although he was just 20 years old, he knew that investing in his future was the right thing to do. “There wasn’t any place to spend money in New Guinea, so I started sending my paychecks home,” Gorman said. “Finally, I wrote my dad and said, for goodness’ sake, instead of putting this money in the bank, buy me something. And he did. He bought me a farm on route 97 between Lexington and Bellville.” When Gorman returned home from the war in 1945, he began working on that investment – a potato farm. Why potatoes? Gorman said spuds were the perfect fit for his new business venture. “The ground there is particularly suited to grow potatoes. My farmland was underlain with gravel so it drains properly. You can’t have seeds and potatoes sitting in water for long periods of time.” Gorman spent several years harvesting potatoes, and he said the Kroger Company was one of his key customers. “They bought all our potatoes every year,” he said. Things were good, until progress got in the way of production. “The State of Ohio and United States government decided to build Interstate 71 through the middle of it. So, that kind of eliminated the growing of potatoes.” While potato production stopped, the farm remained in the family. Gorman didn’t realize it at the time, but his former potato farm is well positioned to help harvest young talent. When the YMCA of North Central Ohio began looking early last year for the right location to build a sports complex and third branch, Gorman quickly remembered the communities that have supported his long-standing pump business. “The YMCA came to us, and we said, well, in addition to the city of Bellville being so nice to us, the whole community has been really great to the Gorman Rupp Company. The Y needed the acreage and we had it, so we decided to donate it to them. “It was time to give back a little and say, thank you,” Gorman said. Gorman, who will be 99 in April, said he’s pleased that through the paychecks sent back home during the war, he was able to acquire the land that the YMCA will use to support area children and their families, and create positive economic growth across Richland County. “I think you’re going to see the village of Bellville explode,” he said with a chuckle. “Having this in your backyard is going to greatly benefit the children.” “The way I look at it, it goes from growing potatoes to growing young people.”

Jim Gorman 1_4_edited.jpg

Gorman is pleased that the YMCA will use the land to support area children and their families, and create positive economic growth across Richland County.




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A publication dedicated to the new Sports Complex of North Central Ohio.

Soccer Goal
The Goal Magazine
The Goal
Get involved

Get involved

The YMCA is seeking public and private donations for this $22 million investment in the community. Progress announcements will be made periodically this year.




For more information:

Chriss Harris:

Sara Baker, YMCA Marketing-Development Director:

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